Giants and shooting stars in the August sky – Space & Astronomy

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The giants of the Solar System, Jupiter and Saturn, still put on a show in the August sky, especially in the first half, waiting to give way to one of the most anticipated astronomical shows of the year: the shooting stars in summer. The peak of the Perseid swarm is expected in the night between 12 and 13 August and amateurs from all over Italy are already organizing events.

The entry of the month is greeted by the meeting between the Moon and Jupiter, notes theItalian Amateur Astronomers Union (Uai). “In the night between 1st and 2nd August the Moon, now almost full, approaches Jupiter until it reaches the conjunction with the planet. Jupiter and Saturn – still detect the amateurs of the Uai – are still visible in optimal conditions, in the constellation of Sagittarius. Jupiter, in particular, is the brightest object in the evening sky: we can observe it in the South-East after the sunset, and set during the last hours of the night. Mars, on the other hand, rises before midnight and we can identify it in the constellation of Pisces. Finally, Venus – the amateur astronomers conclude – is observable in the hours preceding the rising of the Sun, and is about to reach the period of maximum morning observability ”.

Many initiatives organized to observe the Perseids. The most famous is ‘Notti delle stelle’, traditionally combined with “Chalices of Stars”, The food and wine event promoted on 10 August by the Wine Tourism Movement and the National Association of Wine Cities.

“The event with the appropriate precautions related to the pandemic – observes the UAI – aims to bring the public, through conferences, projections in planetariums and observations at telescopes, to the knowledge of the phenomenon of shooting stars, which once again this year promise an unmissable show .

The swarm of Perseids, the amateur astronomers continue, “is active for many days, even if the maximum is expected for the nights between 11 and 12 and between 12 and 13 August. In fact, on the night of the 10th – they specify – the point on the celestial vault from which the meteors seem to come, the so-called radiant of the Perseids, at the beginning of the evening is still very low in the sky and a high percentage of light trails are invisible, because they direct towards an area of ​​sky that is still below the horizon. Only in the second part of the night – the UAE experts underline – does the constellation of Perseus, from which the name of the swarm derives, rises on the celestial vault and the number of visible meteors increases. Furthermore, the lunar disturbance will be reduced, since the Moon will be in the phase of the last quarter ”.

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