Watch Perseid Meteor Shower 2022 Tonight Before Supermoon Ruins the Show

The annual Perseid meteor shower, which began in mid-July and will continue through late August, is expected to peak in the morning hours of August 11-13.

During a normal year, at the peak of the Perseids, stargazers have a chance of spotting up to 60 to 100 meteors per hour. However, with the peak in 2022 coinciding with a supermoon, visibility could be limited during peak periods.

The shower of shooting stars, so named because they appear to be emerging from the constellation Perseus, is being caused by Earth migrating through the trail of dust and debris left in the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle. The comet last passed Earth in 1992 and orbits the Sun once every 133 years.

As it warms in the sun’s heat, the comet leaves a trail of dust that passes through Earth on its orbit around the Sun in July and August. When the dust particles, most of which are only a fifth of an inch in size, enter Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up and cause the spectacular light show.

Illustration of a meteor burning up in the atmosphere. The Perseid meteor shower, projected to peak on August 12, will be outshone by the glow of the collapsing Supermoon.
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However, the supermoon’s unfortunate timing means the 2022 Perseid peak won’t be quite as miraculous as light from the moon will outshine the meteors.

“Unfortunately, the peak of the meteor shower this year coincides with a full moon on Friday evening, when you can expect the most meteors per hour,” says Jen Gupta, Senior Public Engagement and Outreach Fellow at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth news week.

“A full moon is essentially natural light pollution — the moonlight makes the sky brighter, which means you can’t see any of the fainter meteors,” she continued.

“In addition, the August full moon is often referred to as a supermoon, when the moon is at or near its closest point due to its elliptical orbit. A supermoon is brighter than an average full moon, so conditions for meteorite viewing will be even worse this year,” Gupta said.

According to Brad Gibson, director of the EA Milne Center for Astrophysics at the University of Hull, the sky as a whole is about 40 times brighter at full moon than at new moon.

“That bright background means that instead of seeing a meteor/shooting star every 1-2 minutes, you’re more likely to see it every 10-20 minutes because you have to wait about that long for one to appear really brighter – one that matches the bright one.” essentially outshining the sky background,” he said news week.

It has been suggested that the best night to see meteors this year will be Tuesday, causing some live streams, including the Virtual Telescope Project, to start earlier than planned. Despite this, no one knows exactly when the shower will be most active and visible.

“The time after midnight into the early hours of August 12 and 13 will still be the best time,” Gibson said.

However, Gupta disagrees.

“By definition, a full moon rises when the sun sets and sets when the sun rises, so on Friday, when the meteor shower peaks, the moon will be in the sky all night,” she said. “However, the Perseid meteor shower has actually already started so you might be able to see some if you go out in the next few nights. However, the moon will still be in the sky for most of the night, so don’t expect to see too many.” Watch Perseid Meteor Shower 2022 Tonight Before Supermoon Ruins the Show

Rick Schindler

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