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Sunday last weekend was the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, one of the most important astronomical events that happens every year. Astronomy enthusiasts, nature lovers, social media photography influencers, and many others travel out of the cities during Perseid peak weekend to catch a glimpse or a picture of the event, and this year’s is supposed to be one of the best in a while. What are people saying about the Perseid meteor showers in 2023? Read on below to find out.
What are the Perseid meteor showers?
The Perseids are an annual astronomical event, named after the constellation Perseus. For a few months every summer, a large comet followed by a meteor shower seems to be coming from the constellation.
This comet is the Swift-Tuttle comet, one of the most well-known celestial bodies, and one that’s been observed and studied for over 2000 years. It makes a full orbit once every 133 years, so its brightness when viewed from Earth waxes and wanes over time.
When and where could you see the Perseids?
This year’s Perseids have been active since July 14 and are predicted to continue until September 1. The peak, the night when the event is most visible, is what actually took place last Sunday.
Because of the location of the constellation Perseus, which is where the Perseids appear to begin in the sky, the event is always the most visible from the Northern Hemisphere. In an especially visible year like this, however, decent visibility was available virtually anywhere without too much light pollution. To get the best view of any astronomical event, you’ll be best off in an outdoor area far out of any major cities.
The Perseids were better this year than last year
The Perseids are one of the most exciting space-related events of each year, but the viewing experience can vary from year to year based on the moon cycle, light pollution, and other factors. Last year’s Perseid peak fell during a period when the moon was extremely bright, meaning the visibility of other bodies in the sky was greatly diminished.
In a normal year and in an area with decently low light pollution, you can expect to see 50 to 75 Perseid meteors per hour at night. Last year, only 10 to 15 meteors per hour were visible, but the visibility this year was much better. With the moon only illuminated roughly 10% at the time of the peak last weekend, some astronomers estimated that as many as 150 meteors per hour were visible on Sunday night.
What did people say about the Perseids 2023?
As expected, the reactions to this year’s Perseids were definitely those of awe and excitement. One astronomer who got some exciting photographs on the night of the peak said, “The clear night conditions allowed me to create an image that not only highlights the meteor’s brilliance but also showcases the grandeur of the cosmos. The meteor’s vibrant trail and the tranquil expanse of the night sky combine to create a sense of wonder and fascination.”