Pesky Perth supermoon to steal the limelight from meteor shower

DECEMBER 13 2016 – 6:02PM

Brendan Foster

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A meteor shower expected to burst across Perth skies on Tuesday night would normally provide stargazers with a spectacular celestial show.

But that pesky supermoon is back to steal the limelight.

The Geminids meteor shower can be seen on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with 120 meteors lighting up our skies per hour, if the heavens remain clear.

But the peak of the meteor show coincides with the third supermoon of 2016.

Last month, the biggest and brightest moon since 1948 hit Perth, sending astronomy nerds into an astronomical frenzy.

The Perth Observatory’s Matt Woods said the brightest meteors would be hidden by the return of the supermoon.

“Usually when we don’t have a moon in the sky you get 100 to 120 meteors an hour but we will get a reduced amount of about 30 to 40, which is still pretty good for most meteor showers,” he told Radio 6PR.

“Because of the light pollution that comes off the moon, you probably won’t be able to see some of the fainter ones.

Mr Woods said the best part of the meteor shower is you don’t have to get up at some “god awful” hour to view the show.

The supermoon is back to steal the limelight.

He even offered up a few handy spots to check out the shooting stars.

“It’s best to find a dark area at a local park, the beaches…maybe even Mundaring Weir is great,” he said.

“We had one last year, which unfortunately started above our heads but exploded behind the trees so everything just lit up

“What is happening is the earth is moving through the tale of an asteroid and pretends to be a bit of a comet and it has a bit of a tail and it produces jets.

“It’s a bit like driving through a rain storm and you get hit by rain on the windscreen.”

Astronomical Society of Victoria vice-president Perry Vlahos told Fairfax Media the meteor shower would probably peak early Wednesday morning and could even extend into Thursday morning.

“This year, because of the moon, it’s [the meteor shower is] not going to be as spectacular as other years. It’s a little bit like natural light pollution,” he said.

“I wouldn’t bother going out into the country or anything like that to get away from the city lights. With the full moon, it’s going to be the same everywhere, whether you observe from the suburbs or in the country.”

Source : WA Today

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