Skywatchers in Bulgaria will be able to enjoy one of the summer night sky’s most spectacular annual displays as the 2016 Perseid meteor showers peak on August 12 and 13.
The good news is that in 2016, the meteor showers will not be competing with a full moon, though the moon over Bulgaria is waxing, from the first quarter on August 10 to the full moon on August 18.
While the Perseid meteor shower is best viewed from a spot away from the bright city lights, residents of Sofia have a fair chance to see something, given a weather forecast for the Bulgarian capital of clear skies on the nights of August 12 and 13.
In Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city, the forecast is similar, clear skies on both nights.
At Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, however, both Varna and Bourgas are facing forecasts of partly cloudy skies on Friday night, but clear skies and a warm evening on Saturday.
In 2016, unlike in some other years, the Perseid meteor shower will also not be competing with a “Super Moon”. The next Super Moon is in October, with the year’s supreme Super Moon on November 14, when the moon will be at its closest point to earth during a full moon in 2016.
The Perseid meteor shower makes an impressive lights show in the skies over the northern hemisphere every year in August.
With very fast and bright meteors, Perseids frequently leave long “wakes” of light and colour behind them as they streak through the Earth’s atmosphere. The Perseids are one of the most plentiful showers (50-100 meteors seen each hour) and occurs with warm summer nighttime weather, allowing sky watchers to easily view the shower.
The Perseids have been observed for at least two millennia and are made up of bits of dust and ice trailing the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years, according to NASA. Their name derives from the fact that they appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus.
(Main photo, of Perseid meteor as seen from the International Space Station, by NASA)