Look to the skies tonight, as the return of the Perseid meteor shower will be lighting up the dark when cosmic dust slams into the earth's atmosphere - an event which is peaking at the moment. Majorca's dry climate and clear skies give the perfect viewing medium for the meteors which will look like shooting stars. The Perseids begin in mid July, with one or two meteors streaking through the sky each evening. Activity slowly builds up towards the peak nights; yesterday and tonight, when dozens of shooting stars will be visible each hour from dark skies. Though the time of year to watch the Perseids may vary slightly, they are more predictable than most moteor showers. And while they are never grand on the scale of historic meteor storms, the Perseids are dependable. “From every northern location in the world, a fair number of nice meteors will be seen” says Rainer Arl, an astronomer at Astropsysikalisches Institut Potsdam in Germany. The only hindrance is natural light,” The Perseids regularly produce 50 to 150 meteors an hour - more than one per minute - under dark skies. There have been years when they produced only a handful, and other years when the count soared above 200 per hour. The first records of the shower date back to 36 AD, with a Chinese account of “more than 100 meteors” being sighted early one morning. This year's peak hourly rate is expected to be on the low end of the range, likely around 50. A dozen or more per hour could also be visible a night or two after the peak, the shower continues through until about August 22, by which time it will have wound back down to just one or two meteors per hour. Also, up to ten shooting stars not associated with the Perseids occur every hour of the night at this time of year. These other meteors, which are typically not as bright as the Perseids, can approach from any direction in the sky. The meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus because the meteors eminate from a point, called the radiant, within Perseus. Watchers are advised that despite the moon, it is best to watch during the last few hours before morning when the radiant lies high in the western sky. Astronomers suggest taking time to allow your eyes to ajust to the darkness. Telescopes are of no use, because meteors move too quickly. Perseid meteors are known for a curious feature, a trail of smoke which can be seen lingering in the sky, some also explode with a bright flash before vanishing forever.

Comments

The content of comment is the opinion of users and netizens and not of mallorcadailybulletin.com.

Comments contrary to laws, which are libellous, illegal or harmful to others are not permitted');

mallorcadailybulletin.com - reserves the right to remove any inappropriate comments.

Warning

Please remember that you are responsible for everything that you write and that data which are legally required can be made available to the relevant public authorities and courts; these data being name, email, IP of your computer as well as information accessible through the systems.

* Mandatory fields

Currently there are no comments.