Supermoon may disrupt views of Perseus, ‘best meteor shower of the year’

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The Sturgeon Full Moon, the third supermoon of summer, will take its place on the grand celestial stage Thursday night. That usually gets avid skywatchers excited, but many will look to the sky for the annual Perseid meteor shower, which is expected to reach a spectacular mid-August peak on Friday morning.

As with other sky phenomena, you’ll have the best chance of seeing the Perseid meteor shower — what NASA calls “the best meteor shower of the year” — in natural darkness at night and in skies free of light pollution. Even in major metropolitan areas, the intensity of the meteor shower (50 to 100 meteors per hour) can usually be seen at night and early in the morning.

Because the supermoon lights up the sky, its simultaneous presence could cut the number of visible meteors in half.

In Washington, the moonrise on Thursday is 8:26 p.m. ET. The full moon is officially at 9:36 p.m. ET.

When the moon is in the sky, it always reflects light from the sun. A supermoon occurs when the full moon is closest to Earth in its orbit, called perigee, and appears larger and brighter than normal.

Even with the disturbance of the supermoon, skywatchers everywhere should be able to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower, although they may have to do a little more preparation — and a little luckier than usual.

While the regular Perseid meteor shower may be harder to see because of the supermoon, the fireball should still be noticeable, Sky and Telescope magazine said.Fireballs are shooting stars across the sky same brightness as According to the American Meteor Society, or brighter than Venus, often triggers a dazzling display of color.

The Perseid meteor shower has a variety of colored meteors. There’s a reason for this.

Larger chunks of comets produce more fireballs, so it makes sense that the Perseids would emit many of them. The parent of the Perseid meteor shower, Comet Swift-Tuttle, is quite large at 26 kilometers.A team led by Bill Cook, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, According to Sky and Telescope data, 568 fireballs were recorded in the sky during the 2008-2013 meteor shower, the most of any other meteor shower during that time period.

To optimize your chances of seeing Perseus – even if you’re not lucky enough to catch the bright fireball – there are some Best practices for viewing the vivid night sky.

One recommendation from is to avoid light disturbances in major cities and look for dark spaces away from highly developed areas. Ideally, your stargazing point should also be in the shadow of the moon, so you can see a slightly darker night sky.

The reflection of sunlight on the moon does cast shadows on Earth, and supermoons cast more dramatic shadows. According to Earthsky, the ideal place to be in the shadow of the moon is the plateau, where high mountains block the moonlight. For those who don’t have a mountain nearby, it’s enough to find a piece of wood or a tall building that blocks the moonlight while still giving you a clear view of the night sky.

Best Places to Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower in the DC Area

Clear skies over much of the country will provide unobstructed views of the moon and any meteors, but some cloud cover will interfere with the West Coast, parts of the Rocky Mountains, the upper Midwest and the Southeast.

For those less willing to stay awake early Friday to catch the peak of the meteor shower, some meteors should still be visible early in the night. Skywatchers may also see “earthgrazer” meteors, a rare type of meteor that occurs most often in the early evening.

According to NASA Meteor Watch, Earth predators are unique because they approach Earth at a very shallow angle, which allows them to travel long distances in the upper atmosphere, even sometimes leaving the atmosphere and re-entering space, rather than Burning in Earth’s atmosphere.

Expectations of seeing the constellation Perseus should be tempered Thursday night thanks to the supermoon.but there is a chance To see a glowing fireball, a persistent Earth predator, or any of the dozens of meteors expected to pass through the atmosphere, stargazers shouldn’t come home empty-handed, regardless of the sturgeon satellite’s interference.

Supermoon Photography Tips

Jason Samenow contributed to this report.

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