Rain of Perseids. Observing the Universe

Rain of Perseids. Observing the Universe

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This beautiful night image shows us a meteor shower on Mount Rainier, in Washington, United States. The photo was taken by Matthew Dieterich on August 25, 2015, and it is about the Perseids. The snapshot was taken from a video time lapse of two hours, and includes more than 20 meteors, of which one is especially bright, which is located to the left of the image.

Although each shooting star usually lasts less than a second, the camera managed to capture the color progressions of the meteors as they disintegrated in the Earth's atmosphere. The green color may be due to small amounts of magnesium atoms that are hit by atmospheric atoms. The photo completes a spectacular view of the Milky Way and the snowy peak of Mount Rainier.

The Perseids are also popularly known as the Tears of St. Lawrence, since they take place around August 10, the feast day of this saint. Its activity period is quite long, being seen between July 9 and August 24. Its maximum activity takes place on August 11, and is considered the third largest meteor shower of the year.

The Perseids come from comet number 109 of the periodic comets, called P109 / Swift-Tuttle. It was discovered in 1862 simultaneously by two astronomers, Lewis Swift and Horace Parnell Tuttle. The Swift-Tuttle comet follows an elliptical orbit around the Sun that lasts about 135 years, and leaves along that orbit material that escapes from its nucleus when approaching the Sun.

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