When it's best to see Perseid meteor shower

A view of a Perseid meteor shower.

A view of a Perseid meteor shower. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What’s in the sky this month?

If you want to see a meteor shower, August has quite the show! While the Delta Aquariids meteor shower is tailoring off the Perseid meteor shower will be picking up in intensity. The Perseid meteor shower is often the most active meteor shower of the year.

A view of a Perseid meteor shower.

A view of a Perseid meteor shower. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Meteor showers happen when the Earth passes through debris fields left behind by comets. The Perseid meteor shower originates from debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle. On average, there are 150 meteors per hour.

Perseid meteor shower in 2016.

Perseid meteor shower in 2016. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The best dates to try and view the Persieds is August 12-13 around midnight. To view the Perseids, look towards the north. You don’t have to look directly at the constellation Persues, but the meteors will generally originate in that area.

You might want to put on The Marcels because there is a blue moon this month! Will the moon actually be blue? No. The term blue moon actually refers to two different events.

The first is when we see two full moons in a single month. The full cycle of the moon from full to new moon and back again takes 29.3 days. This means it is possible for two full moons to occur in a single month, but not common. We see this kind of blue moon once every 2.7 years.

The second kind of blue moon refers to the third full moon in a season that will have four full moons. The full moon on August 22 will be the second type of blue moon. While the colour might not be changing, a full moon is still spectacular to look at up close. Break out a pair of binoculars and you can see the craters and shadows on the moon.


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Astronomy at the University of Hertfordshire

Hundreds of radio signals are coming from Orion, but they aren't from radios! The Orion complex is home to the Orion Nebula Cluster, a group of 2,800 stars embedded in the nebula.

new study conducted by Jaime Vargas-González and collaborators sought to identify radio signals in the cluster. They detected a whopping 521 radio sources, 198 of which were new detections.

Radio signals identified in the Orion cluster by Jiame Vargas-González and collaborators.

Radio signals identified in the Orion cluster by Jiame Vargas-González and collaborators. - Credit: John Bally et al. 2015 and Jiame Vargas-González et al. 2020

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By comparing the brand-new observations with observations taken several years ago, Vargas-González and his collaborators were able to improve upon proper motion measurements of the radio sources in the cluster.

Proper motion tells us what direction the radio source is moving compared to other sources in the cluster. They found evidence that several radio sources were not associated with stars, but with material that has been disturbed by stars ejected from a cluster over 500 years ago.

Radio signals identified in the Orion cluster by Jiame Vargas-González and collaborators.

Radio signals identified in the Orion cluster by Jiame Vargas-González and collaborators. - Credit: John Bally et al. 2015 and Jiame Vargas-González et al. 2020

With the proper motion, they have identified a newly discovered radio source moving at 373 km/s! The radio sources from the stars are just as interesting.

The signals they have detected from young stars show nearby massive stars influencing the young stars’ protoplanetary disks, where the strong radiation is essentially destroying those disks and preventing potential planet formation.

Latest Astronomy News around the World

Not all discoveries in astronomy are made by professional astronomers. Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, has 80 recorded moons now thanks to amateur astronomer Kai Ly.

Jupiter is thought to have many undiscovered moons too small and faint to easily find. The tiny moons are not ones you can see from your backyard telescope, you’d need a large observatory to capture the tiny objects.

Jupiter and some of its many moons.

Jupiter and some of its many moons - amateur astronomer Kai Ly has recently discovered an 80th satellite. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Kai Ly decided to try their hand at moon hunting by looking through archival astronomy data from professional observatories. They found several images showing an unidentified object orbiting Jupiter in a survey performed at Japan’s Subaru telescope back in 2003.

Using this as a starting point, Kai Ly then moved on to later images from several other telescopes to find a total of 76 detections, officially finding the 80th Jovian moon.

With the advent of open access to archival astronomy data from major telescopes and citizen science projects like Galaxy Zoo, more and more amateur astronomers have been able to contribute to discoveries in astronomy.

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