The month of August will offer stargazers some unique views. For starters, on Sunday, August 10, a supermoon will be perigee (IE its closest distance to the center of the earth) at 222,000 miles. By definition a supermoon is 14% brighter and 30% larger than a standard full moon. The last supermoon was this past July 12, but as stated the one visible this coming Sunday will be its largest. The next supermoon is set for September 9. Common misconceptions persist that supermoons cause increased natural phenomenons such as volcanoes and earthquakes, but this is unsupported by science.
After the supermoon, a Perseid meteor shower will be visible from Monday, August 11, to Wednesday, August 13. By definition, a Perseid meteor shower requires sighting 50 or more shooting stars an hour. NASA believes that observers will be able to see as many as 100 such shooting stars an hour. This meteor shower is a remnant of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. What is unique about this particular meteor shower is that is has an orbital period of 133 years and its orbit ranges from 20 to 200 years. This means that it is quite likely that no one living on earth today will be around the next time this specific meteor shower comes around.
The comet was last spotted in 1992 and has a solid nucleus of 26 kilometers (~16 miles). Put another way, the comet thought to have brought about the end of the dinosaurs is believed to have been only 10 km (~6 miles) in diameter. Those eager to see the meteor shower should take every advantage to do so. The close proximity of the meteor shower to the supermoon increases the probability that the light from the supermoon will block out much of the meteor shower.
Frances might be just at the beginning of her career, but after attending a technical school, she has a fresh perspective on today’s technology. She contributes to the site with tech news.