Adrian Dening's Stars Over Somerset

    Monday 9th to Sunday 15th August 2021

    Adrian Dening's Stars Over Somerset
    Monday 9th to Sunday 15th August 2021

    Just after sunset on Tuesday 10th or Wednesday 11th, look towards the west and you will see a thin waxing Crescent Moon with planet Venus a little to the left of it. Please remember that if you are using binoculars or a telescope to get a better view, never ever point them towards the setting Sun! Wait until it has totally disappeared below the horizon.

    Thursday 12th sees the peak of the Perseids meteor shower around 11 pm. Look towards the northeast, a little below the constellation of Cassiopeia and above Perseus. Cassiopeia is easy to spot as it has an obvious "W" shape.

    The meteors will appear to originate from a single area of the sky and this is called the radiant point. Meteor showers are named after the constellation where the radiant point is located, so no prizes for guessing why this shower is called the Perseids!

    At its peak, the shower can produce over 100 meteors per hour and they should be easy to see because the Moon will have already set by 10.30 pm and so it won't be producing any light pollution.

    Meteor showers occur at the same time every year - as the earth orbits the Sun, it passes through the debris left by a comet and in the case of the Perseids, it is comet Swift-Tuttle that takes 133 years to orbit the Sun - it last swept in from the outer reaches of the Solar System in 1992 so it will be a while before we can see the actual comet again!

    Screenshots courtesy of Stellarium
    Copyright Adrian Dening and Radio Ninesprings 2021

    May be an image of sky and text that says "Venus Moon"

    May be an image of sky and text

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