Monday, 11 August 2014

2014 Perseid meteor shower and "SuperMoon"

Picture above : The perigee moon, or supermoon, rising over Mount Eden in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday morning. Photograph: Simon Runting/REX


From the "Guardian Newspaper"

A dramatic supermoon is set to accompany this year's Perseid meteor shower, one of the most anticipated events on the skywatcher's calendar.

Given a dark, clear sky in a normal year, it is common to see more than 100 of the meteors an hour during the second week in August. But this year the Perseids have a bright shining rival. On Sunday, two days before the meteor shower reaches its peak, the moon will become full.

Coincidentally, it will also have reached the point in its orbit that is closest to the Earth, known as perigee. The supermoon will be up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons during the year.

On one level, this is bad news, according to Dr Bill Cooke from Nasa's meteoroid environment office. "Lunar glare wipes out the black, velvety backdrop required to see faint meteors, and sharply reduces counts."

But all is not lost. The debris stream left by comet Swift-Tuttle, which produces the Perseids, is wide, so the shooting stars could make an appearance well before the moon becomes full. Cooke added that the Perseids were also "rich in fireballs as bright as Jupiter or Venus" that would remain visible despite the moon's glare.

Source of detail above :

Location in the sky

Perseids meteor shower for Johannesburg (Night between 11 Aug and 12 Aug)
Time Azimuth/
Tue 04:00 14°North-northeast 3.0°
Tue 05:00 North 5.3°
Tue 06:00 358°North 5.9°
Direction to see the Perseids in the sky:

  • Azimuth is the direction, based on true north, a compass might show a slightly different value.
  • Altitude is height in degrees over horizon.