The morning of the next Friday (13) marks the climax of the classic annual Perseids meteor shower, one of the most famous and intense. The name refers to the constellation Perseus, from which most popular shooting stars emanate at this time of the year. And it’s all just the bran of the comet, or more precisely the Swift-Tuttle, a star that crosses the area around the sun every 133 years. Although he’s not there at the moment, there is a trail of dust from his last passport. When the earth crosses its orbit, these little grains find our atmosphere and burn, creating the visual spectacle.
With its radiation (where the meteors seem to disappear if you draw a line in the opposite direction of their movement) in the boreal constellation Perseus, the further north you are, the more intense the phenomenon, but with the southern bands it becomes possible too be to see it. In Brazil, the higher the map, the better. Thus, the North and Northeast regions have better conditions than those of the Midwest, Southeast and South. Despite these differences, nobody should be discouraged, no. With a little patience, anyone can collect a handful of falling stars.
The basic suggestion of the astronomer Gabriel Rodrigues Hickel from the Unifei (Federal University of Itajubá) is to find a place with a good view of the sky – the more the view of the sky, the better – and to lie down. The ideal time is between 3 a.m. and sunrise. “There is no particular region of the sky that you should look at,” says Hickel. “The ideal is to find a dark place far away from the light pollution of the big cities with a clear horizon (no buildings, trees or nearby hills) and to lie in a beach chair to see as much of the sky as possible.”
The astronomer suggests at least an hour of observation to see a good number of meteors. For locations close to the equator, an occurrence of 25 to 40 meteors per hour is expected. As you move south on the map, the speed will decrease until you reach about 5 meteors per hour in the south of the country. However, it is worth remembering that these are rates that take into account all of the sky and good viewing conditions. It is therefore necessary to modulate expectations. “Be patient and don’t expect fireworks,” says Hickel. “Watch for at least an hour to see a decent number of meteorites.”
The best time to watch in Brazil is between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. And the good news is that this year the moon in a thin crescent doesn’t risk overshadowing the observations with its brightness. Good heavens!
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