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Popular Astronomy Magazine - November-December 2017
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Fri, 11 Aug 2017


The Perseids are here


A bright Perseid beneath the Andromeda galaxy (M31), photographed by Paul Sutherland

This year’s Perseid meteors are already appearing, and the maximum this coming weekend will be well worth observing. Although the Perseids are surpassed slightly in activity by December's Geminids, the milder August nights lead to the Perseids being the more popular target for observers.
    The peak of activity is quite broad, and significant numbers can be seen on any night over this coming weekend. The actual maximum is due at 19h on Saturday 12 August, so the highest activity as seen from the UK is likely to be on that night, Saturday–Sunday 12–13 August.
    The gibbous waning Moon will rise at around 11 pm BST on 12 August, which will be a nuisance to observers. However, you can minimise its effects by observing in a direction away from the eastern horizon where the Moon will rise, keeping it out of your field of vision. Do continue for as long as you can, as rates increase through the night as the radiant of the meteors rises.
    Meteor Section Director Tracie Heywood writes: “Being rich in bright meteors makes the Perseid shower a good target for imaging. Video observers in particular will benefit - they can even record bright meteors with the Moon inside their field of view!”
    For full details of the event, and for links to observing tips, go to the section’s Perseid web page and see this news story.

 

Added by: Robin Scagell