The Moon is expected to play the celestial spoilsport as it is expected to overshadow the heavenly annual spectacle of this meteor shower.
Dr. John Keller gave out this disappointing piece of news. He is the director of the Fiske Planetarium at the Colorado University.
This meteor shower is seen as the Earth speeds through the backwash of debris left in the trial of the Swift-Tuttle comet, which is an annual summer occurrence between July 17 and August 24. At the peak of the shower, the Moon should be around 9/10ths full.
The Biggest Spectacle Of The Lot
The brightness of the Moon, at its full, invariably shuts out any other ethereal phenomenon; at least to the unaided eye.
Of the 200 meteors normally seen every hour, we can expect to see only the brightest ones, around 10 to 15 of them this year. It won’t be a total washout as the Perseids has an arsenal of bright fireballs.
The icy Swift-Tuttle on its orbital path comes closest to the Sun once in 133 years. The comet’s orbit is close enough for the particles to get swept up by the gravitational field of Earth.
1992 happens to be its previous approach. The debris tale is long and dense enough for our planet to speed through every year. Every time the comet goes around the Sun, the tail gets topped up.
A Twin-Treat On A Celestial Scale
To offset the disappointment of the non-visibility of the Perseid meteor shower, Earthlings are in for a treat from two other dazzling meteor showers, the Alpha Capricornids and the Southern Delta Aquarids that are also annual meteor showers that are seen between the second week of July and the end of August.
The meteors of the Alpha Capricornids are the leftover debris of its parent comet 169P/NEAT, half of which was destroyed 3500 to 5000 years ago. The drifting cloud of the debris became an annual meteor shower as it entered the earth’s orbit.
The Southern Delta Aquarids is also the remnants of a large comet and the remaining halves are referred to as Marsden and Kracht Sungrazing.
Both these showers are expected to peak between 28th and 30th July 2019. Several meteors from the two showers will be visible and at its peak,we can expect at least 25 meteors to light up the sky every hour from midnight till dawn.
For stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere, meteors from the showers will be visible in the lower southern horizon near the constellation Aquarius.
It will be easier for enthusiasts from the Southern Hemisphere as the meteor showers will appear higher up in the night sky.
It is just before the New Moon and the night sky will be dark enough to serve as the perfect backdrop for the impressive display.
Though not as famous or dramatic as the Perseids, at least this year they promise to deliver a better viewing.