Perseid Meteor Shower

Sky watchers around Co.Tipperary will have a good chance of spotting the annual Perseid meteor shower which is expected to be quite spectacular, weather permitting, for anyone prepared to stay up late tonight.

The Perseid meteor shower has been observed in our skies for the last 2000 years, with the first known information about this meteor shower recorded in the Far East.

However, the absence of clear skies will not be the only drawback to those wishing to view this spectacular event, as the moon will also be high in the sky and its light will outshine some of the fainter meteors in the shower train.

Also referred to as the Burning Tears of St. Lawrence, the Perseid shower is made up of bits of debris from the parent body of the Comet Swift-Tuttle.

PerseusNote : St. Lawrence, whose feast day is August 10th, was burnt to death in AD 258 on an iron stove. Once when ordered by the Roman Emperor Valerian to turn over the treasures of his church – he presented the poor of his parish.

This debris, some no bigger than a grain of sand and at the largest no bigger than a marble in size, was laid down over the centuries as the Comet orbited the sun. In August, each year, the Earth passes through this stream of debris and  the skies above the Northern Hemisphere become  peppered with little bits of space debris which create this meteor shower spectacular.

Meteors visible to the eye in this display, can number as many as 60 per hour entering Earth’s atmosphere at an incredible 133,200 mph.

For best viewing advantage move away from interference caused by town and city lights. Rural areas usually allows you to view as much sky as possible with little distraction. If you have a lightweight folding deck chair and a rug bring them with you for added comfort as the temperature tonight will be quite  low.

The Perseid meteors will appear to originate in the north eastern sky, near the constellation Perseus, and shoot off in many different directions.

Meteor showers and also random shooting stars are, as a general rule, best viewed during the predawn hours.


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