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Meteor shower captured from the Serra de Fafe

The famous Perseid meteor shower, which takes place between July 17 and August 24, 2021, had its peak this Thursday, between 20:00 and 23:00, with an hourly rate forecast of 110 meteors per hour. From Casa do Penedo, in the mountains of Fafe, parish of Moreira de Rei, O MINHO photojournalist Ivo Borges captured some images of the phenomenon announced by the Lisbon Astronomical Observatory (OAL).

Photo: Ivo Borges / O MINHO

As the night progresses, the radiant continues to rise in the sky, and the meteor trails get shorter and shorter, lasting only a few tenths of a second around midnight. At the end of the night, before dawn, the radiant is even higher in the dark sky, with meteors being more visible but lasting less time.

To observe the meteor shower, the OAL advises going into the countryside, out of city lights, with an unobstructed horizon: “If the sky is clear we will have a wonderful view of the sky. Jupiter will be seen in the constellation of Aquarius, Saturn at his side in the constellation of Capricorn, and the wonderful summer constellations will already appear in all their splendor”.

Photo: Ivo Borges / O MINHO

What are the Perseids?

The Perseids are the most impressive and popular meteor shower of the year, as they have a high meteor rate and occur every year in summer (in the northern hemisphere) under pleasant temperatures and starry nights.

They are caused by the passage of the Earth by the fragments of comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle, which were left behind during its passage. The orbit of this comet has a period of 133 years and the last time it entered the inner solar system was in 1992. The radiant of this meteor shower, that is, the point from which the traces of its shooting stars seem to come out, is located in constellation of Perseus.

Photo: Ivo Borges / O MINHO

The intensity of the Perseids varies from year to year, in part due to lunar conditions. If a full moon is shining above the horizon during the night of maximum activity, the display will be reduced as most meteors are faint and moonlight will make them difficult to see. In 2021, the time of the New Moon phase occurs on August 8th, which will provide excellent conditions for observing the Perseids meteor shower on the night of August 12th and the early morning of August 13th.

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