Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Perseid Meteor Shower (also known as the Tears of St. Lawrence because of the date of this phenomenon) will let us see about 200 shooting stars per hour.
The Tears of St. Lawrence can be watched from 20th July to 19th August, reaching its peak tonight. They consist of a pile of meteors as a result of the disintegration of Swift-Tuttle comet. This shower is the most popular and the most observed in the Northern hemisphere. It will have its highest activity between 19.30 and 22.00 hrs.
The Perseids are named after Perseus' constellation as the radiation seems to come from there. At its peak, balls of colourful fire and sparkling meteors can be noticed far from the city lights.
In addition to this popularity, it has a remarkable historical relevance because it marked a turning point on Astronomy when it was officially recognized there was a correlation between comets and shooting stars.
In 1862, two astronomers, Swift and Tuttle, discovered a wonderful comet that made a long orbit around the Sun in a 120 year time. Thereafter, it was named on their honour.
If you want to learn more, you can visit this interesting webpage. You'll know all the forthcoming events...because it's written on the stars!!!
International Year of Astronomy 2009