Meteor shower will be seen this week
During the coming nights of August 11th through the 13th there will be small lines of lights in the sky, product of fragments of the Swift-Tuttle comet.Bogotá D. C., 10 de agosto de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
The phenomenon known as Perseid meteor showers owes its name to the Perseus constellation located to the north of the hemisphere.
The phenomenon may be observed as an exhaustive repetition of what is known as shooting stars.
According to Professor Gregorio Portilla, Director of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Astronomical Observatory on any given night a shooting star may be observed at a rate of one per hour but with this phenomenon it may increase to up to 20 per minute.
Usually this phenomenon occurs between the first and second week of August of every year with greater intensity on the nights between August 11 and 13.
Scientists anticipate it will be possible to see a good meteor shower if the night sky is clear and begin observations after 1 am, time when the Perseus constellation will be on the horizon.
For this it will be necessary to be in a dark location with low light contamination, in other words far from large cities and towards the countryside to avoid the brightness of the city to interfere with the observations.
This year the surge will be during full moon and they also anticipate that the brightness of the moon will also hinder the observations. However the sky may be seen as a group of stars which quickly fall.
“Some just take less than a second and are so bright the luminous trace may be observed, and rapidly thins”, said Portilla.
The technical name is meteors, namely small asteroid or comet fragments which detach from the Swift-Tuttle comet. This comet is 25 kms (15.5 miles) in diameter and circles the sun every 133 years and could potentially crash against Earth.
“When the Swift-Tuttle comet is near the Sun it passes very close to the orbit of the Earth, therefore the pieces it leaves in its path hit the Earth and lighten up due to the kinetic energy,” he said.
These small meteors enter the Earth at speeds between 50 and 60 kms per second, similar from going from Bogotá to Fusagasugá in one second.
The kinetic energy is high when it reaches Earth and the pieces crash head on with the atmosphere where they immediately burn and this is the brightness we see,” said the expert.
This phenomenon occurs when Earth is in the trajectory of the comet which has a specific orbit and being close to the Sun material loosens and is maintained in the same trajectory.
NASA will transmit the event live at www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc for people that have overcast weather and cannot observe the phenomenon.(Por: Fin/VC/DMH/APBL