The most anticipated meteor shower of the year finally arrives: the Perseids. This shower of stars, also called "tears of San Lorenzo" (due to the proximity of the event with the festival of San Lorenzo that is celebrated on August 10), will be particularly interesting this summer, because although the usual forecasts expose about 100 meteors per hour, this year astronomers forecast an average of 500 meteors per hour. This surprising figure will make the Perseids the best meteor shower of 2016: the astronomical event of the summer.
The Perseid meteors, which come from Comet Swift Tuttle, which every 133 years completes a journey through the inner solar system leaving a trail of dust and sand, whose particles will collide with our atmosphere increasing its temperature up to 5,000 degrees in a fraction of Second, they will peak on the night of August 11-12, when the bright flashes of light that meteoroids become will cross the sky at speeds of between 56 and 72 km / s.
If we are lucky enough to collide with particles the size of a pea or larger, they will produce much brighter shooting stars, also known as fireballs. Fortunately, the Moon will not be an obstacle as it will be in a waxing phase.
As usual in these astronomical events, it will not be necessary to equip yourself with any specialized instrument to observe the Perseid shower, but they can be viewed directly without intermediaries. Of course, as always, it is advisable to get as far away as possible from light pollution in cities and look for a quiet and dark place where the entire sky is visible.
In addition, scientists from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (Spain) will take advantage of this moment to launch a probe into the stratosphere to record for the first time, in color and high definition, this shower of stars from an enclave in which there is no atmospheric absorption, for This means that “observations very similar to those that can be made from space but at a much lower cost”, explains Alejandro Sánchez, IAA researcher.
The Perseids will be visible in the sky until Wednesday, August 24.