Supermoon vs Perseid meteors


During the second week of August, the biggest and brightest full Moon of the year will face off against everyone's favorite meteor shower – Perseids – and the outcome could be beautiful.

On August 10, 2014, just as the Perseids are set to peak, the Moon will become full. Moreover, it will become full just as it reaches the place in its orbit (perigee) that is closest to Earth. The perigee full Moon of August 10th –also known as a supermoon– will be as much as 14% closer and 30% brighter than other full Moons of the year.

"This is bad news for the Perseids," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.  "Lunar glare wipes out the black-velvety backdrop required to see faint meteors, and sharply reduces counts."

But there's good news, too.

The debris stream of Comet Swift-Tuttle (the source of Perseids) is broad, and it is possible to see Perseids as early as late July, well before the Moon becomes full.

Also, notes Cooke, "the Perseids are rich in fireballs as bright as Jupiter or Venus. These will be visible in spite of the glare."

Video courtesy: Sciennce@NASA


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