The sky soon illuminated by a rain of stars

cette-annee-pic-activite-perseidesNearly a hundred shooting stars per hour on a black sky traditional meteor shower in August will be at its peak on the night of Wednesday to Thursday and looks impressive.

“The show promises to be spectacular this year,” Morgan told AFP Hollis, an astronomer at the Royal Astronomical Society.

This superb spectacle, visible throughout the world, we are offered by the Perseids, small particles of the Swift-Tuttle comet crosses the Earth’s orbit every year between mid-July and mid-August.

“On returning to our world, the Perseids – the small cometary clots – bang in the molecules of the atmosphere and this shock, extremely violent, produces light,” says Jeremiah Vaubaillon, an astronomer at the Paris Observatory (IMCCE) “Each clot becomes a shooting star.”

“They say that the clot ” burns ” but it does not burn. Gradually, the air molecules tear the atoms of the clot, until there are no more, “says the scientist. “This is the end of his journey, his life,” that leaves beautiful light trails in our skies.

To the naked eye

The show is varied because the Perseids are different sizes, rocky pebbles or tiny dust. And they travel arbitrarily, alone or in swarms, spaced a few tens of kilometers or a few hundred, and at different speeds.

This year the Perseids peak activity occurs between 12 and 13 August.

“It is on that date that the Earth really goes to the heart of the cloud and that we can see as shooting stars,” notes Clément Plantureux, Special Adviser to the French Association of Astronomy (AFA) . “We can see a hundred per hour.”

“And we can already see!” Adds Jérémie Vaubaillon, noting that “the phenomenon lasts about 2 weeks, the time that the Earth passes through the cloud.”

A huge cloud over a million kilometers long and contains billions and billions of particles released from the comet. “This show will last for years, it’s a real meteor tank” enthuses Clement Plantureux.

Luckily, this year the moon will not be visible (New Moon): brightness therefore will not obstruct the observation of the sky.

How to go to watch the phenomenon? Just a sunbed! “No need binoculars or telescope, says astronomer Affelia Wibisono, the Royal Greenwich Observatory. The best is to the naked eye! ”

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