The Perseid meteor showers are a much-awaited annual event occurring between mid-July and early August as the Earth passes through the remnants of the comet’ Swift-Tuttle.’ This celestial event is considered the brightest of all meteor showers and is the one that every stargazer covets.
This year, between August 11 and 13, the Perseid meteor showers had painted the night skies of the Northern Hemisphere with their lovely streaks of light, giving us a rare feeling of oneness with the cosmos.
Although avid sky gazers managed to view the annual phenomenon, some of us missed it entirely. And if you weren’t fortunate enough to sneak a peek at this year’s Perseid meteor showers, worry not!
Two Indian astrophotographers Vikas Chander and Dorje Angchuk managed to capture the Perseid showers in all their glory from Hanle, the site of the Indian Astronomical Observatory in Ladakh. The Hanle observatory is home to one of the world’s highest optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes, situated at an elevation of 4,500 meters.
The view has the entire world transfixed and has received global recognition. The time-lapse video was featured as NASA’s “Astronomy Picture of the Day” on September 28. And APOD tweeted about the same:
The video recorded by Vikas and Dorje is a treat to sore eyes. It begins at nightfall, with the central plane of our Milky Way Galaxy approaching from the left and Earth-orbiting satellites zipping by overhead. Soon, the dazzling beams of green light—the meteors—become visible. While the meteors only appear for a second, at most, the creators have edited the brief flashes to appear for longer. The green glow exhibited by most meteors is due to the vaporising of nickel present in the meteors.
As the video progresses, we can see Orion rising and meteors erupting above the 2-meter Himalayan Chandra Telescope and the High Energy Gamma-Ray Telescope’s seven barrels (Hagar). The two-and-a-half-minute video concludes with the Sun rising, heralded by the false dawn of zodiacal light.
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