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The phase of the waning moon in which the Moon will allow this year an observation optimal of ” perseids “, the rain of stars that happens every summer, popularly known as “ Tears of St. Lawrence ” by matching their peak with the previous days and after that the feast of the santoral.
will Not the Moon , but the cloud which make it hard in some places, the contemplation of the shower of stars, since, after several days of skies completely clear in almost all the country, the storms and the skies partly cloudy are going to be a constant in many communities during the next few days.
Neither are stars, nor are they tears, but dust and rocks, residual of a comet (the Swift-Tuttle ) that colliding with the earth’s atmosphere is converted into “ balls of fire ” and at a speed of up to 50 kilometres-per-second draw those strokes of light to trigger one of the shows astronomical more characteristic of summer nights in the northern hemisphere.
The National Astronomical Observatory (NAO) has reminded us that the perseids begin to be seen in the sky in mid-July and last until the end of August, but the highest activity is recorded each year between the days of 11 and August 13 , when that rain can reach up to 200 meteors per hour.
During the last few nights the “tears” have been crossed as the sky and have generated fireballs especially bright that have already been recorded by the detectors and the Network of Fireballs and Meteors in the Southeast of Europe has in the Astronomical Complex of Hita (Toledo) and in nine other observatories located in different parts of Andalusia.
But the real spectacle that generate the “tears of St. Lawrence” will occur during the nights of 11 to 13 (between Tuesday and Thursday of this week) and the best time to observe it will be the wee hours of the night, when the sky will be darker, before the departure of the moon, although the satellite will not be this year, an obstacle egregious for being on a stage is waning.
why are they formed? because all of the comets, in their orbits around the Sun, they leave a trail of gases, cosmic dust and rocks that remain in an orbit very similar to the one that describes the parent comet, and when the Earth encounters one of these rings, some of these fragments are trapped by the gravitational field and entering at high speed in the atmosphere, forming the “rain of stars”, according to the NAO.
Each summer Earth crosses the orbit of comet Swift-Tuttle, which is full of these small particles, like grains of sand and even smaller, that had been released by the comet on its previous steps.
the data from The Observatory reveal that the brightness and the speed that they reach those meteors cause a spectacular effect and the “illusion” that they are very close, although in reality the “perseids” (named so because they “seem” to come from the constellation Perseus ) happen to about 100 kilometers.
The importance and popularity of this “rain of stars” focusing each year’s attention of the main companies and institutions are astronomical, which organize activities to watch the show and live broadcasts, as scheduled by the Astronomical Complex of The Hita or the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary islands with cameras of very high quality.
Because to see the “perseids” is not necessary nor telescopes or optical instruments -just look to the sky from dark places, and as far as possible from sources of light pollution-, but to observe how those meteors impact the Moon.
The lack of atmosphere, these meteors collide directly against the surface of the moon at speeds that can exceed the 200.000 kilometers per hour , an impact that causes it to destroy in a sudden way and the formation of new craters; a collision invisible to the human eye, but not for telescopes.
A sight in the sky and an endless source of information for scientists, which each year put the focus in those tears and in those collisions -some debris even go so far as to impact with the ground-earth.
The Astrophysics Institute of the Canary islands and the Polytechnic University of Madrid have joined this year to the project of citizen science “Counters of stars” which is funded by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology under the Ministry of Science and Innovation and have been added to the teaching and learning activities for anyone to participate in the star count.
The IAC, in collaboration with the channel of spreading astronomical sky-live-tv, will broadcast live the “rain of stars” on the 12 of August (the night of Wednesday to Thursday) from the observatories of Teide in Tenerife and the Roque de los Muchachos on the island of La Palma.
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