Meteor shower(s) are beautiful sky events that anybody can enjoy watching without spending much money. All you need is a good blanket, nice company, a chest full of snacks and just head out to a remote area free of light pollution from the city. It is also a good and inexpensive date idea. Read along to know more on how to plan a meteor shower viewing all by yourselves.
What is a Meteor?
Asteroids, comets and meteoroids are celestial bodies of various sizes and properties that float around in the solar system. Some of them may come closer to the sun or earth and even come in the orbital path of earth. Meteoroids are the smallest among those three and they are usually debris left behind by the other two (asteroid or comet).
Sometimes some meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere. They are often so small that they vaporize completely and never reach the surface of earth. When they get vapourised, they make nice streak of light. They are called Meteors. Apart from the scientific name Meteor, they also have many pet names like shooting star, falling star, wishing star etc.
Please visit this page for a detailed article on the difference between asteroid, comet, meteoroid etc
What is a Meteor Shower?
Now that we know what is a meteor, meteor shower is simply that event of the year, when a series of meteoroids enters earth’s atmosphere within a short period (like an hour). There are many such meteor showers that happen each year.
What are some of the meteor showers visible in India?
How Meteor Showers happen?
It is just like driving in the summertime. You are hurtling down the highway with the windows down when suddenly — SPLAT! A bug hits your windshield. Then another one. And then another.
That is exactly how a meteor shower works. Earth is driving through the solar system, and it encounters a swarm of debris. The atmosphere vaporizes the shooting star like your windshield that smashes an unlucky insect. Get ready for a night full of bright surprises!
How to watch a Meteor Shower?
Since 2010, we folks from Bangalore Adventure School have been watching this Meteor shower phenomenon every year. So you can either tag along with us to watch this celestial drama or you can follow our instructions and watch them yourself!
Your best bet will be to go camping atop a hill/mountain in the outskirts of the city away from the light pollution and crowd. All you need to do is just wrap up warm, allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness, then sit back or lie down facing the sky, relax and enjoy the show with some cozy company.
Don’t know where to go to catch the show? Beaches, ballfields and lakes are ideal, where an absence of trees allows for maximum sky viewing. Of course, make sure that is a safe location, and maybe bring a friend to watch the show! No need for telescopes, cellphones or taking selfies.
Watching sky events from Bangalore
Some places in Bangalore that we think could present a scintillating show this May weekend are Nandi Hills, Turahalli Forest, Ramanagara, and some secret getaways that we would usually hang out at; for events such as these. The only catch in places around Bangalore are the light pollutions. So, we usually go to the Eastern Ghats for camping. You could even travel north to Hampi and camp there to escape the rain clouds and to get good visibility.
- Quadrantids – First week of January
- Eta Aquarids – First week of May
- Perseids – Second week of August
- Geminids – Second week of December (Multi-colored)
- Difference between Comet, Asteroid, Meteor etc.