Clouds may obscure Perseids meteor showers Saturday

August 12th, 2011 - 6:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) Overcast skies under a full moon are likely to deprive Delhi sky gazers of one of the finest celestial spectacles Saturday night: the Perseids meteor showers.

At its peak, one can see as many as 60 meteors streak across the skies in an hour. The shower’s peak usually occurs on Aug 13, but these meteors are visible any time from July 23 to August 22.

“The Perseids meteor shower would be difficult to see in Delhi due to the dense cloud cover and full moon,” said Chandra Bhushan Devgun, director of the Science Popularisation Association of Communicators & Educators (SPACE).

As comets move about their orbits, they leave a trail of dusty and rocky debris, which gets attracted when the earth crosses their orbits. The showers are seen as they light up on entry into the earth’s atmosphere.

Records of Perseids activity date back to 36 AD. In 1839, German astronomer Eduard Heis was the first to take a meteor count and discovered that Perseids had a maximum rate of around 60 meteors per hour.

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