Coming Capricornids, shooting stars of July: what you need to know

The nights between 11 and 13 July you have to keep an eye on the constellation of Capricorn. One of the most beautiful swarms of meteors is about to show itself in our sky.

Not only on the night of San Lorenzo in August, even in July you can admire shooting stars. These are the Capricornids, also known as sigma Capricornidi. Given the absence of the Moon in the sky, which on July 10 will reach the phase of novilunio and will be practically invisible even in the following days, there will be the best conditions to observe one of the most beautiful meteor showers of the year. The sky darker than usual will allow (except for light pollution) to admire many shooting stars.

Capricornids, what they are and when to see them

The Capricornids are a meteor shower that was discovered in the 800 and captured on video, for the first time, only in the '30s. They are slow and very bright meteors that originate in the constellation Capricorn and, in most cases, fragment with a flashy final explosion. The Italian Astrophilic Union explained that one of their characteristics is the diffuse radiant, that is, that the swarm seems to arise from a large portion of the sky. Among the most suggestive of July, in 2021 you can admire it at its best in the nights between 11 and 12 July and between 12 and 13 July. From the 10th of the month, in fact, the lunar hemisphere is completely in shadow and this condition allows a clearer vision of the Capricornids.

To observe them at their best, however, it is necessary to stay away from artificial light sources, such as those of the night lighting of large cities. It is therefore preferable to go to a more isolated and natural place. Also according to the Italian Astrophilic Union, the swarm of meteors can be seen from 23 at night until 3 am at a height of over 30 ° above the horizon and you have to look for the constellation of Capricorn, which, for those north of the equator, will be visible to the southeast. Away from the cities, where you are less disturbed by other sources of light, once you reach the most suitable location just look up in the sky and wait for the spectacle of the meteor shower to show up on the horizon.

Retaining on the subject of light pollution, some researchers have found that the over 9,300 tons of disused space objects orbiting the Earth increase the overall brightness of the night sky by about 10%. This could pose a significant threat to observations of the cosmos.

Stefania Bernardini