The nights of August 12 and 13 will be the best to enjoy the Perseids, one of the most spectacular star showers of the year. This is all you need to know to enjoy this astronomical event.

Comet Swift-Tuttle is a distant visitor to Earth that completes an orbit around the Sun every 133 years.

At 26 kilometers in diameter, it is the largest object that converges with Earth’s orbit and therefore, some calculations estimate that in a few hundred thousand years, the probability that it will impact our planet could increase dramatically.

Comet Swift-Tuttle is also responsible for one of the most intense star showers of the year: the Perseids.

This shower of stars, popularly known as Tears of San Lorenzo, occurs when the fragments of dust, ice and cosmic rocks that the Swift-Tuttle leaves in each transit near the Sun rush towards our planet while the Earth crosses that region of its orbit, disintegrating upon contact with the atmosphere and causing a glow that crosses the sky in tenths of a second.

The last time the Swift Tuttle comet visited our cosmic neighborhood was in 1992; However, every August we can enjoy the Perseids and thanks to the moon, which will be in the last quarter, this astronomical phenomenon promises to be one of the most spectacular in recent yearss.

How to see the Perseids step by step

Photo: Unsplash

Time to see the Perseids from Mexico

The peak of this star shower (and therefore the best time to see it) will be the early morning of August 12 and 13, when you can see more than 50 meteors per minute. If you don’t know how to locate them, follow these steps:

1. The Perseids are named after most of the meteors that appear near the constellation of PerseusTherefore, once you locate this constellation in the night sky, you should pay attention to the flashes that appear from this point and towards any direction of the celestial vault.

2. To locate Perseus from Mexico, you must first wait until around 01:00 in the morning to wait for the constellation to appear on the horizon, near the northeast (exactly in the NNE direction).

3. You can take the Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia and Andromeda as reference points, easy to recognize constellations in the same direction. Once you locate Perseo, find a comfortable place with the least possible light pollution (even from smartphones) to enjoy this experience.

PerseidsThis is how the Perseids will be seen in the night sky of Mexico on August 12 and 13 at 1:20 AM. Photo: Stellarium

(If you have trouble locating yourself in the night sky, download an app to use your camera and augmented reality mode and find the Perseids, such as SkySafari for Android or SkyView for iOS).

How to improve your experience

Perseids 2020Photo: Unsplash

In order to see as many Perseid meteors as possible, it is best to find a high, dimly lit site, away from big cities and light pollution.

Remember that to observe a shower of stars, you do not need an optical instrument such as a telescope or binoculars: meteors appear near the radiant (in this case, the constellation of Perseus) and fleetingly scan the sky in any direction.

Also read:

The strange sound of the Perseids

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