Astronomers using high-end telescopes may be able to count up to 140 shooting stars per hour, but hobbyists using only the naked eye can still see up to 40 at the same time.
Amateur astronomer David de Cuevas offered some advice to journal local France 3 on how to observe the best shooting stars.
He said, “First of all, you have to be ready between midnight and 1 am and look up to the North Star and Ursa Major (the Big Dipper). [north-east]. If your sky isn’t cloudy, you should be able to see some amazing shooting stars. ”
If you don’t know how to find Ursa Major in the sky, there are plenty of smartphone apps – free and paid – that can help you identify her – along with all the other constellations and planets.
“Falling stars” are actually debris that burns in Earth’s atmosphere as it trails behind Comet Swift-Tuttle.
The comet, named after its discoverers, measuring 26 kilometers in diameter and sometimes known as the “mother of the Perseid meteor shower,” behind it creates a stream of “shooting stars” that we see every year.
The comet has been observed from Earth since the 19th century.
Read more: The story of the annual “Star Nights” and comet Swift-Tuttle
If you want to capture the shooting stars for posterity, Mr. de Cuevas gave the following advice to aspiring photographers: “You need a basic SLR camera with a wide angle lens, attached to a tripod on an axis. north-east-south-west. Leave it fully open or slightly less for about 30 seconds. The camera’s sensitivity is set to ISO 800 or 1600. ”
The shooting star sighting reminder comes in the middle of the year Star nights event, which started on August 7.
Hundreds of events are taking place across France to encourage people to watch out for the Milky Way, the shooting stars, the Perseid meteor shower from August 10 to 15; and the uprising of the planet Mars from August 16 to 22.
Find out more – including a map of France showing all scheduled events – and more on the Star nights and the story of comet Swift-Tuttle here.
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