How to see the Perseids, the summer meteor shower that we have known for two thousand years

How to see the Perseids, the summer meteor shower that we have known for two thousand years

Our planet is continually being bombarded by extraterrestrial matter . Every year, for example, 5,200 tons of micrometeorites (interplanetary dust from comets and asteroids that give rise to shooting stars) reach the ground of the Earth.

The Perseids or Tears of San Lorenzo is an example of this, perhaps the most spectacular of the year.

The remains of a comet

The Perseids are one of the most attractive meteor showers of the year. This is how NASA considers it, since meteors are "bright and very fast" and "leave long trails of light and color in their wake as they travel through the Earth’s atmosphere."

The oldest record that is had of the activity of the Perseids is from the year 36 AD. C. , but it was not until 1835 when the Belgian astronomer Adolphe Quetelet shows that a meteor shower occurs, cyclically in August, with its radiant in Perseus.

Although we perceive them as shooting stars, they are dust particles about the size of a grain of sand left by Comet Swift-Tuttle in its orbit around the sun – a comet that was discovered by Lewis Swift and Horace Parnell Tuttle on 19 July 1862, it has a diameter of 26 kilometers and its orbit around the Sun has a period of 135 years

The light effect is produced when these grains pass through the Earth’s atmosphere, attracted by our planet, and volatilize. They do it at about 210,000 kilometers per hour . Its period of activity is long and runs between July 16 and August 24. Its maximum is between August 11 and 13.

How to contemplate them?

Experts believe that the activity of these stars will reach 100 meteors per hour (in 2020 they stayed at 78 and in 2019 they reached 99) and even the smallest will be visible, due to the low luminosity of the Moon on those dates. Experts point out that the best time to see the Perseids is set between 00:00 and 6:00. In that band they offer a greater frequency and intensity

The third largest meteor shower of the year is very popular in the Northern Hemisphere. The best option to be able to enjoy the fleeting Perseids is to be lying down or sitting looking up at the sky , as well as it is advisable to move away from illuminated areas and look for open areas and with a lot of darkness so as not to miss any. If you don’t know where to look, the Astronomical Association of Spain recommends a preference for the north and northeast.