Spectacular and fascinating phenomena, we can admire the “shooting stars” in clear nights of new Moon, when the sky is darker, possibly far from the lights of the cities…
From January there are already numerous meteor showers that have illuminated our skies.
Falling stars are not, properly speaking, stars: they are so-called “meteoroids“, that is tiny or small fragments of rock, which travel in interplanetary space. Overheating and entering the Earth’s atmosphere they emit vapors and gases that give life to the light trails that we know with the name of “meteors” or “falling stars”.
Even if today the first “impulse” to the sight of a falling star is to express a desire, ancients saw them as inauspicious signs because they believed that they represented the tears of the gods who wept because of misfortunes that had occurred in the past or would have happened. However it was with the advent of Christianity that, during the night of San Lorenzo, in memory of his martyrdom, the custom was born of being able to express a “desire”, that is to ask for the “grace”.
It is advisable to observe the falling stars far from the city lights, possibly when the Moon is in the phase of the new moon and at the same time not to use electronic instruments (such as smartphones) that obstruct the view. It is therefore advisable to bring red lights, which do not disaccustom the view to darkness, so as to best admire the celestial spectacles of shooting stars.
With the 3-4 peak January, they have around 120 phenomena per hour. They derive from the asteroid 196256 (2003 EH1) and have their radiant near the constellation of Boote.
The falling stars of Spring, the Lyrids seem to originate from the constellation of the Lyra and have origin from the remains of the Comet G1861 / Thatcher .
About 60 shooting stars per hour for the May meteor shower, with its peak on the night of 6. The passage in the atmosphere of the residues of the Halley Comet is the cause of this meteor shower.
The swarm of the Delta Acquaridi will reach the peak on 28 July; observable about 20 falling stars per hour, they seem to originate in the constellation of Aquarius.
The famous tears of San Lorenzo will give the best of themselves on the night of August 13th. About 90 phenomena are observable per hour.
Also Autumn (as well as winter) will give us its meteor shower. The Orionids have the radiant in the Orion constellation and about 20 phenomena per hour. They derive from the passage, like the Eta Acquaridi, of the Earth in the remnants of the Halley Comet.
They originate from the passage in the Encke comet. They have the radiant in the constellation of Taurus and are not very intense: about 5 meteors per hour. We expect the peak for the night of November 4th.
Provocated by the Comet Tempel-Tuttle, the radiant is found in the constellation of Leo. Of variable intensity due to the orbital period of the Tempel-Tuttle of 33 years, the shooting stars of autumn par excellence will be concentrated on the night of November 18.
Surgeic meteorite caused by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Expected about 120 meteors per hour, this swarm seems to originate from the star Castor of the constellation Gemini.
Eyes pointed to the sky then to observe the spectacular meteor showers that await us in this 2019 full of astronomical appointments!