Perseids put on a show, although full moon interferes

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/15/2022 11:51:03 AM
Modified: 8/15/2022 11:47:35 AM

A two-month meteor shower peaked this weekend for New Hampshire residents to observe.

From the night of Aug. 12 to the early morning of Saturday, Aug. 13, New Hampshire residents could observe little meteors striking through Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 37 miles per second. According to NASA, the annual Perseid meteor shower located near the Perseus constellation in the Northern Hemisphere originates from a 16-mile long comet known as Swift-Tuttle. Debris from Swift-Tuttle is still falling and passing through Earth’s atmosphere, 30 years since Earth’s last close encounter with the comet. On average, 50 to 100 meteors pass by Earth’s atmosphere every hour during peak Perseids, according to NASA.

However, a full moon on Friday interrupted the celestial event. According to Erik Schmitt, director of the Perkin Observatory at Dublin School, the full moon’s brightness significantly impacted the visibility of the meteor shower during its peak hours last weekend.

“Unfortunately the Perseids this year coincide with a full moon, so folks would only be able to see the brightest of them rather than the shower of all different size pebbles that a meteor shower would otherwise provide,” said Schmitt.

Despite this, New Hampshire residents had the best visibility of the meteor shower before dawn on Saturday, when the shower’s radiant Perseus was at its highest point in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Local space enthusiast and telescope collector Charles Brault, 70, of Rindge, has been watching celestial events like Perseids since the age of 6. Brault said the Monadnock region is a prime spot to observe Perseids throughout August.

“Mount Monadnock would be a great spot, but any place that faces the northeastern sky will do,” said Brault.

The Perseids are expected to last until the end of August.

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