August is the month of meteor showers. It has started with accelerating Perseids and keeps going with the Cygnids. Stay here, and you’ll know more about the Kappa Cygnids and what makes them unique. Of course, we won’t miss out on answers to important questions: how to see this meteor shower and where it will be visible.
To learn more about meteor showers, their origins, radiant points, etc., click here. Also, here you can note how to get the best view on “falling stars” in the skies. If you are already familiar with those facts, terms, and suggestions, keep reading.
When and where is it active?
The Kappa Cygnids is the summer’s last meteor shower. The stream is visible from the Northern Hemisphere from August 3 to 25, with a peak on August 17. It’s bluish-white, short-tailed meteors can’t compete with the Perseids’ speed. The radiant point is located among the Draco, Lyra, and Cygnus constellations, near the star Kappa Cygnus.
The higher a radiant climbs, the more meteors you’re likely to see. To find a radiant point in the skies above, you can use the Star Walk 2 app. It’s one of the best options — you can use it for free for stargazing or buy more content to extend your space knowledge. Besides, you can turn on AR mode and enjoy the magical night sky with the names of constellations above to be 100% sure that you won’t miss even the small stars.
The k-Cygnids’ discovery history
The Cygnids were first discovered by the Hungarian astronomer N. de Konkoly on the night from August 11 to 12 in 1874. His main target was the Perseids, so when he noticed a few meteors of some unknown origin, he didn’t pay much attention to them.
In 1877, the English astronomer William F. Denning noticed the k-Cygnids as well. Like Konkoly, he saw them for the first time while observing the Perseids. However, he continued its observation for a couple more days. In the scientific journal The Observatory, he wrote that he was surprised by the meteors’ frequency and brightness. Those meteors appeared from the northwestern border of the Cygnus constellation.
What makes it unique?
Different sources give different data, but one thing we can say without a doubt — this meteor shower isn’t well studied.
Although we mentioned Denning’s words about the fantastic brightness of this meteor shower, recent articles say that the k-Cygnid meteor shower is a faint stream. Nevertheless, this stream contains a significant number of large fragments that generate bright fireballs. There is an assumption that the meteor shower’s activity is highly variable from year to year — a possible period is 6.6 years. The k-Cygnids showed increased activity in 2014 and 2007, and its activity is growing after the recession in 1990–2005. So far, we don’t know if 2020 is preparing something special, but it’s better to be always ready!
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