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The Perseids will soon reach their peak of activity, which will once again give rise to what is nicknamed the shooting star rain.
The meteor shower we still see around mid-August is the result of Earth passing very close to the orbit of comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle. It is the billions of dust particles in its wake that offer this spectacle to the inhabitants of the Earth.
In Quebec, the peak of Perseid activity will be during the day of August 12. Since it will be daytime, it will therefore be necessary to fall back on the night of August 11 to 12 to be able to see dozens of shooting stars every hour.
“Indeed, that means that we miss as many activities as possible, but the nights before and after are after all not too bad,” explained Loïc Quesnel, coordinator of scientific activities at the Montreal Planetarium.
“The peak of the Perseids has a fairly short duration of a few hours, but it is a meteor shower which has the advantage of being present several days before and several days after the peak”, he adds.
Getting away from light pollution is a good reflex to increase your chances of seeing shooting stars. However, there is one source of light pollution from which we cannot avoid, recalls Mr. Quesnel: the Moon.
Mr. Quesnel points out that the Moon will rise in the second part of the night during the nights of August 11 and 12. People could therefore take advantage of the first hours of the night, i.e. until around 1 am, to see a few dozen meteors per hour.
However, weather conditions will need to be monitored as August 11 and 12 approach. If the sky is not clear, Mr. Quesnel suggests observing the sky on August 9 and 10, although the number of shooting stars will be lower.
Loïc Quesnel recalls that there are two important points to improve his observation of the Perseids. First of all, it is necessary to move away from any source of light pollution, therefore from large cities. He recommends using uno map that shows light pollution to find a suitable and quiet place to observe the sky. The second is to favor places where thehorizon is clear. In short, not to be in the middle of a forest.
We could begin to see the Perseids in the sky from the end of July. Some meteors will also be observable four days after the peak.