August meteor shower will peak this weekend

August meteor shower — the Perseids meteor shower will peak activity in the early evening on Sunday, is expected to appear in the sky to 100 "shooting stars" per hour, shows forecast, published on the website of the International Meteor Organization (International Meteor Organization — IMO).

Shooting stars — meteors — are tiny particles of interplanetary matter the size of sand grains to peas. Particles enter the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of about 20 kilometers per second at an altitude of about 130 miles and burned almost instantly, leaving the sky a beautiful bright trace. The glow of some particularly bright meteors lasts a few seconds.

In the sky at any night you can see rare sporadic meteors — several pieces per hour, but sometimes the number increases dramatically, and in heaven there is a few shooting stars per minute. This phenomenon — meteor rain — is associated with the passage of the Earth through the dust trail left by the comet.

One of the most powerful and well-known meteor showers — the Perseids, the maximum activity which falls on August 11-13. This stream is "trace" of the comet Swift-Tuttle (109P/Swift-Tuttle). When its orbit the planet every year close to this thread, and crosses a part of, which leads to the phenomenon of meteor shower.

© D. Moser, NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office
Perseid meteor shower

Amateur astronomer Mikhail Maslov from Novosibirsk told RIA Novosti that this year is not expected to burst activity of this meteor shower, which happen when the Earth crosses the relatively fresh loops — the "tails" of the particles, recently posted a comet.

"Every time a comet trail throws, then they start to evolve on their own, and there is a family of these loops, which can take place at different times at different distances from the Earth. If it passes through young cables — up to 10-20 calls, they give a splash activity associated with this train, "- said Maslov, which, in particular, has been forecasting power of meteor showers.

"For this year, some specific predictions not, this is the usual maximum — 100 meteors per hour. This year, the specific additional trains will not only" traditional "maximum" — a spokesman said.

Where to look

In terms of the terrestrial observer meteors during the meteor shower are flying from one point in the sky — radiant. By location and radiant meteor showers get their names. Perseid meteors can first be seen in the sky is July 17. At this point, radiant was just south of the constellation Cassiopeia. He gradually shifted towards the constellation Perseus, increasing activity. Meteor shower reaches maximum activity on August 12 in the period from 12.00 to 14.30 GMT (16.00 — 18.30 MSK).

Maslov said that the value of the peak of activity — 100 meteors per hour, calculated for standard conditions of observation, in which the stars in the sky to 6.5 magnitude, while the radiant is in the zenith.

"The actual conditions could be better, for example, in the mountains," — said the source.

According to him, the Russian latitudes Perseid radiant evening will be at about 30 degrees, and in the morning will rise to 50-60 degrees.

"In a moderately illuminated suburb, when the stars 5.5 magnitude, will be seen in about one and a half times less than the meteors, about 50-70 per hour," — said Maslov.

He added that he found the constellation Perseus in the evening may be in the north-eastern part of the sky, the constellation of Cassiopeia, and in the morning it rises almost to the zenith.

Do not forget to phone

Studies meteors are engaged almost exclusively amateur astronomers, but the collected data help scientists to investigate the evolution of comets. In doing so, they can help ordinary people who just look at the sky.

Experts from NASA to study the division of meteors have developed a special application for mobile phones, with which anyone can give scientists information about meteors, which he sees.

"We have created an application for smartphones on the Android platform and the iPhone, which will help observers counted meteors using valid scientific methods. This is called the Meteor Counter, it can be downloaded from the Android Marketplace and Apple's App Store", — said Bill Cook (Bill Cooke) from the meteoric division of NASA.

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