Many people believe that if you cite a shooting star in the night sky, your wishes come true.A romantic date will be perfectly complete if a couple sees one. The shooting stars make the enchanting night sky even more charming. But what if you can observe these beautiful stars every month ? However, some mythologies also report that citing of a shooting star brings bad luck. That’s where the word disaster originated which amalgamation of ‘dis-aster’ meaning bad star.But don’t you be afraid , these beliefs are very old.
Probably everyone would have heard of the comets and these are also know as shooting star. These are the icy balls which complete one revolution around the Sun in an average of 75 years or more. Halley’s Comet being the most popular of all which is predicted to be seen on 28th July 2061.Many of us will be old by then.
But this is not why am I writing this article for. What if you could observe such beautiful event annually or lets be precise, monthly? Yes, this is possible. There is a phenomenon by which every month some of the comets debris come in contact with earth’s gravitational field giving rise to meteors , which fall on the earth. Many of them disintegrate before touching the ground because of friction provided by the atmosphere.This is process when multiple meteors are cited from a particular part of the sky is called meteor shower.Technically, they are not shooting stars , but they look like one. The location of each meteor shower is fixed which is determined by the constellation in which it is seen ( to know more about the sky map and constellations please read the previous article “How did the Zodiac signs got their names”)
There are roughly 15 meteor showers which occur annually. The density of the meteors in a meteor shower is given by the ZHR i.e. Zenith Hourly Rate.Given below is the list of the popular meteor showers along with the constellation and date in which they are cited.
Quadrantid Draco (NE) Jan. 4
EH Lyrid Lyra (E) April 22
Eta Aquariid Aquarius (E) May 5
Delta Aquariid Aquarius (S) July 28
Perseid Perseus (NE) Aug. 12
Orionid Orion (SE) Oct. 21
Southern Taurid Taurus (S) Nov. 5
Leonid Leo (E) Nov. 17
Geminid Gemini (S) Dec.13
But before you proceed with night watching please take the following points in mind
- There should be minimal light pollution i.e. the night sky should be dark so that even the faintest stars are visible
- Take care of the constellation in which the meteor shower is about to occur.
- Be patient and vigilant as the meteors cited in the shower barely last for few seconds.
Perseid having the highest ZHR which is cited in the month of August.I have myself cited Geminid which occurs in December.
Therefore, don’t wait to make you stargazing experience enriched by the beauty of the meteor shower.Go ahead, find the perfect date and the constellation in the night sky and watch these twinkling meteors.