There's a big sky show coming August 10. The Perseid Meteors will be making their appearance with a bright full moon.
The full moon of August 10 is one of the three super summer moons--July, August and September. All three are popularly called supermoons and mark the moon's closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. They are also known as perigee full moons.
On August 10, the moon will be making its closest approach to Earth for the entire year!. This largest supermoon of the year is also called a proxigee full moon.
Proxigee full moons are one of the recurring patterns of the orbiting moon. They occur every fourteen months, which is not that long, considering the orbits of planets and comets. But in our lives, it's a pretty big deal. Here's my post from the last time around.
It was a cloudy night 14 months ago. And, it could very well be a cloudy night on August 10. But, the moon will appear quite bright and round on the days just before and after the maximum fullness, too.
Whatever the weather on the actual full moon night, there may be some good nights for moon-viewing.
This supermoon happens to coincide with the appearance of the Perseid Meteors. They will be peaking August 11, 12 and 13, about the same time as the full moon. You can read more about the Perseids, here.
The Perseid meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, which rises in the northeast around 11 p.m. in mid-August.
Remnants from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Earth passes through this debris field every August, a reliable annual event, and one of the delights of summer. After midnight is the best time to watch for them. On a good clear night, over 100 meteors have been reported in an hour!
Will the supermoon conflict with viewing the Perseids? Yes, and no. For serious skywatchers, the bright moon could be a distraction. But it doesn't have to be. The Perseids are already visible, so start watching, now! Some spectacular fireballs have been reported, too.
A dark sky is best for viewing a meteor shower. That means city lights could be the real distraction. Here are some tips for meteor-watching---
Find a dark, secluded and safe spot where car lights will not interfere with your night vision. Let the stars and sky fill your field of view.
To minimize distracting moonlight, EarthSky suggests positioning yourself in the moon's shadow--using buildings or trees to block out the brightest moonlight.
Yes, why not enjoy the moon, too? What could be a better light show on a clear summer night--fireflies, moonlight, and a fireball streaking by?
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