Sparta Top Stories

Supermoon and Perseid Meteor Shower Create a Summer Night Show

Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ – On Sunday night, August 10, sky watchers will be treated to the brightest full moon of the year just at the time when the Perseids meteor shower is reaching its peak.  This is the second of three so called Supermoons this summer but it could be considered the most dramatic due to the fact that the moon will reach Perigee within hours of becoming full.  Perigee is the place in orbit where the moon is closest to the earth.  It will be 14% closer and appear 30% brighter. 

Comet Swift-Tuttle is the source of the meteors, with the space debris appearing to fly out of the constellation Perseus.   While the increased lunar luminescence may decrease the numbers of meteor sightings, Perseids is known for the huge number of fireballs that it produces.  These fireballs can appear as bright as Jupiter or Venus and will likely be visible in spite of the glare of the August Supermoon.

The Supermoon in combination with the opportunity to see dozens of meteors could make for a nice summer evening of backyard sky watching.  For best viewing, spread out a blanket and look up.  

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