Supermoon--and Perseids--August 10

Supermoon--and Perseids--August 10
Perseid Supermoon--NASA

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.

Take along folding chairs, bug spray, hoodies, blankets etc.  Don't forget the snacks and drinks! Binoculars are not necessary for spotting meteors, but why not bring them along anyway. Take a closer look at the moon while you're at it.

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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Comments

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  • Sounds like fun!

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    Yes--it could be quite spectacular! Even one meteor would be something to see...

  • Meteors, sure... but fireballs? Let's hope they don't hit wildfire country!

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Good point! A fireball is what they call an exceptionally bright meteor, and they usually burn up in the atmosphere. Could a meteor start wildfires?

    Right now, Yosemite is closed because of lightning-caused wildfires. It's usually a very popular place for viewing the Perseids, but there is no mention whether the meteor shower would present a further wildfire threat....

  • Uncle Cyrus, Howard, Eric, and Lucy will be rolling on the grass like animals!

  • And barking louder than ever before!

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