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Supermoon May Interfere with Perseid View, ‘Best Meteor Shower of the Year’

Supermoon May Interfere with Perseid View, 'Best Meteor Shower of the Year'
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sturgeon full moon, Third supermoon of summer, will take his place on the cosmic stage Thursday night. That would normally thrill avid skywatchers, but many people will instead be looking skyward in hopes of seeing the annual Perseid meteor shower, which is predicted to peak early Friday morning in mid-August.

As with other celestial events, you’ll have the best chance of seeing the Perseids — which NASA calls “Best meteor shower of the year” — during the natural darkness of night and where the sky is free of light pollution. Even in major metropolitan areas, the heaviest meteor showers, with 50 to 100 meteors per hour, usually occur overnight and during the early morning hours.

Because a supermoon brightens the sky, its simultaneous presence can cut the number of visible meteors in half.

in DC, moon rise Thursday at 8:26 pm Eastern. The moon is officially full at 9:36 pm Eastern.

When the moon is visible in the sky, it always reflects light from the sun. A supermoon, which occurs when a full moon is closest to Earth in its orbit, known as perigee, appears larger and brighter than usual.

Skywatchers everywhere should be able to catch a glimpse of the Perseids even with the intervention of a supermoon, though they may need more preparation — and may be a little luckier than usual.

Sky and telescope The magazine says that while the supermoon may make normal Perseid meteors difficult to see, the fireballs should still be quite visible. A fireball is a meteor that streaks across the sky same brightness ace or brighter than Venus, respectively American Meteorological SocietyOften exhibits flashes of color.

The shooting stars in the Perseid meteor shower have many colors. There is a reason for this.

Larger parts of comets produce more fireballs, so it makes sense that the Perseids fire up many of them. The main body of Comet Swift-Tuttle Perseid is quite large at 26 km. A team led by NASA’s Bill Cook, who the head Agency’s Meteoroid Environments Office, Between 2008 and 2013 the shower recorded 568 fireballs streaking across the sky, according to Sky & Telescope, the most of any other meteor shower during that period.

To optimize your chances of seeing the Perseids—even without being lucky enough to catch a bright fireball—there are some Best practices for viewing a bright night sky.

A recommendation from Earthsky.org Avoid the interference of light from major cities and find a dark place away from highly developed areas. Ideally, your skywatching spot will also be in the shadow of the moon, giving you a slightly darker view of the night sky.

The reflection of sunlight from the moon casts shadows on Earth, and a supermoon will cast an even more dramatic shadow. According to Earthsky, the ideal place to be in the shadow of the moon would be in a plateau area where high mountains block the moonlight. For those who don’t have mountains nearby, finding a grove of trees or tall buildings that block the moonlight will allow you a clear view of the night sky.

The best spots in the DC area to see the Perseid meteor shower

Clear skies over large parts of the country will provide unobstructed views of the moon and any meteors, but some cloud cover will interfere along the West Coast, parts of the Rockies, the upper Midwest and the Southeast.

Fewer meteors should still be visible before nightfall, with less inclination to stay up late Friday morning to catch the peak of the meteor shower. Skywatchers may also see an “Earthgrazer” meteor, a rare type of meteor that usually appears in late evening.

Earthgrazers are unique because they approach the planet at a very shallow angle, which allows them to travel long distances through the upper atmosphere, sometimes even exiting the atmosphere and reentering space instead of burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. NASA Meteor Watch.

Because of the supermoon, expectations for seeing the Perseids on Thursday night should be low. But in the middle of opportunity Regardless of the intervention of a radioactive fireball, a lingering Earthgrazer, or the Sturgeon Moon, stargazers should not go empty-handed to see the expected dozens of meteors through the atmosphere.

Photography tips for a supermoon

Jason Sameno contributed to this report.

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