Sunday, August 03, 2008

Shooting stars - the Perseids are coming

Do you remember watching shooting stars when you were a kid? Well get ready folks, here it comes.


Famous birthdays, August 11
  • Ray Garrett, Jr., former chairman of the SEC
  • Arlene Dahl, actress
  • Hulk Hogan, wrestler
This spectacular display of SHOOTING STARS that occurs every summer is named Perseids because it appears to come from the constellation, Perseus. It began around July 23rd, with one meteor per hour. There will be about 50-80 per hour by August 11-13.

It is believed that dreams come true on the night of the shooting stars.


Meteors are bits of debris
left behind by comets. The Perseid is from the Comet Swift-Tuttle, the largest object known to make repeated passes near the Earth. It's nucleus, about 6 miles across, is "roughly equal to the object that wiped out dinosaurs." (

The shooting stars are fast. They enter the
Earth’s atmosphere at over 133,000 mph. They range in size from a grain of sand to peas and marbles. When they hit the ground (rare), they are called meteorites.

When the Perseid particle enters the atmosphere, it compresses the air in front of it, which heats up. The meteor can become more than 3,000 degrees. This intense heat then vaporizes the meteors, creating what we call SHOOTING STARS.

Some large meteors splatter, causing a brighter flash called a fireball, and sometimes an explosion that can often be heard from the ground.

The Swift-Tuttle has a 13- year orbit around the Sun. Each time it has left a trail, and each trail has meteors. The best time to view is pre-dawn. This year, there will be a bright moon (gibbous) which will set about 1:30 a.m. Then the sky will be dark enough for good observation. The show began around July 17th, but the full moon interfered with vision. There will be about 10 other showers going on at the same time, including the Kappa Cygnids.

So get out your quilt and head for the hills/boat/park and catch a falling star. Put it on your pillow and watch ...

Photo credit: wikimedia commons

No comments: