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Optimal Conditions for Perseids – How to Observe Falling Stars

Optimal Conditions for Perseids – How to Observe Falling Stars

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from: Tanya Banner

The shooting star stream Perseid is ramping up and will peak in mid-August. How many stars do you expect?

FRANKFURT – In mid-August each year, Earth crosses a dust trail in its orbit around the sun comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle left in space. If dust grains from a comet hit the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up there – a shooting star can be seen on Earth. the Shooting starsoriginating from dust track 109P/Swift-Tuttle, all appear to have originated in the constellation Perseus — and have been named accordingly: the Perseids.

Anyone who sees a shooting star hurtling across the sky from about early to mid-August is very likely to see the Perseid meteor. While the Falling Star Stream activity begins as early as mid-July, by the end of the month there are many other Falling Star Streams overlapping and peaking at the end of July. The Perseids’ activity increases over several days in August until its maximum, which usually falls on August 12th.

Shooting Star Stream
07.17.-24.08.2023, maximum on August 13
August 13, 2023 at noon
The early hours of August 13th
Laurentian tears, Laurentian tears

Watch Perseid Shooting Star maxed out in August 2023

In the year 2023, Earth caught the densest part of the comet’s dust trail on August 13 at noon German time. Then most of the tall stars would be visible in the sky – if they were not overtaken by the Sun. The best time to observe the Perseids in 2023 in Europe is the night of August 12-13. Later that night, one looks for shooting stars, and the closer to Earth the denser point in the dust path, the more meteors. To get the highest possible “return”, you should aim for the early morning hours of August 13th.

In principle, you can already detect shooting stars in the sky after sunset on August 12, because the constellation Perseus, in which the so-called radiant Perseus (starting point) is located, can already be seen in the sky in the north from the onset of darkness. But as the night progresses, it continues to rise toward the zenith—and more shooting stars can be seen across the sky.

Perseids: The moon does not interfere with the shooting star maximum

It’s unlikely that the Perseids will make a special show in 2023 – a small eruption will only be for 2028 and expect. In any case, the conditions for observing the Perseid shooting stars are very good for 2023: the maximum occurs at night from Saturday to Sunday. At the same time, the sky is relatively dark because the moon follows it full moon on August 1 (One of four super moons in a row) is only a narrow crescent that does not disturb viewing.

Perseids meteor shower: In practice, one doesn’t see 100 bright stars per minute

According to the International Meteorite Organization (IMO), up to 100 shooting stars per hour around the Perseid maximum are theoretically possible. However, this value must be approached with caution – even with a lot of luck you will not be able to see 100 bright stars per hour.

It’s the peak hourly rate (ZHR) – the number of shooting stars one person can see in an hour when the sky is in ideal conditions (clear and very dark) and the shooting star stream’s radiation is exactly at its peak. These conditions can hardly be achieved in practice, which is why no one should count on 100 bright stars per hour. However, in reality, 20 bright stars an hour is an experiment – after all, that means you can see a meteor moaning in the sky every three minutes.

Most rocks that fall to Earth from space burn up in Earth's atmosphere and can be seen as shooting stars.  (archive photo)
Most rocks that fall to Earth from space burn up in Earth’s atmosphere and can be seen as shooting stars. (archive photo) © IMAGO / ingimage

Observation Tips: How to Observe the Shooting Stars in Perseid

If you want to take a chance and observe the Perseids, you’re in luck: You don’t need any special equipment to find shooting stars in the sky. On the contrary: a telescope or binoculars can be a hindrance when searching for meteors, as it is important to get the best overall view of the sky. This must be taken into account when searching for a suitable observation site. Also important: the sky should be as dark as possible.

Alias: “Laurentius Tears”

In vernacular, the falling stars of the Perseids are called “Tears of Laurentius” or “Tears of Laurentius”. The name comes from the fact that the peak of the shooting star’s stream was about a day or two before today, coinciding with Martyr Lawrence’s Day on August 10.

To make stargazing more comfortable, make yourself as comfortable as possible – the most relaxing way to observe the sky is to lie on a blanket or deck chair. It is also advised to ensure that you are dressed appropriately, because even in the mild summer nights can get chilly at some point. You also have to be patient, because around Birscheid Maximum you can see many shooting stars in the sky, but they can take their time. (unpaid bill)