September 22, 2021

Taylor Daily Press

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A sleepless night? Look outside tonight for “star rain”

Night owls who happen to be awake during the night from Thursday to Friday are a good idea to look outside between 3:00 AM and 4:00 AM. The Perseids meteor shower will reach its climax, so that if all goes well, dozens of shooting stars will appear.

Members of Euroster, Rotterdam’s Weather and Astronomy Society, will be looking for a nice spot outside the city on Thursday evening to see the spectacle. Although Chairman Victor Mosin is somewhat keen to temper expectations. “Perseids are also called star showers, but I think that’s a bit exaggerated. First, there are no stars and second, it’s not a rain shower, but every now and then a drop.”

Perseids can be easily observed every year in August. This year is even better, as it is expected to be a clear night. “If you set your alarm and look east at 12:00 a.m. when the weather is clear, you will see a bright trail of light across the night sky every minute or two. It moves very fast: it’s a flash. It only lasts one second. It takes a grain of rock, the size of a peanut, to enter our atmosphere from an altitude of about thirty miles. It contains so much energy that it instantly turns white and shatters like dust.”

According to Mawson, the best place to see “star rain” is somewhere with as little disturbing city light as possible and with an unobstructed view of the east. And people who find 3:00 too late (or too early) can also open the blinds around midnight. “Until then, there are already some meteor stars that can be seen.”

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