Sark preparing to see meteor shower

Reuters

It has an orbital period of 133 years and it last visited in 1992.

"During the peak nights of August 11-12 and August 12-13, more than 100 meteors (shooting stars) can be seen per hour", Ottawa astronomer Gary Boyle told this newspaper last week. However, the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky.

The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus in the sky and hence the name Perseids.

The event was dubbed "The Tears of St. Lawrence" during the Middle Ages, as every year comes close to the death anniversary of the Catholic saint Laurentius, a deacon executed during the rule of the Roman Emperor Valerian on August 10, in the year 258.

"For me, the Perseids are unique because they are reliable and easy: Reliable since every year, the shower is rich in meteors, and visible for more than one night". But the most spectacular long-lasting meteors, known as "Earthgrazers", can be seen when the radiant is still low above the horizon.

Chinese astronomers are credited with the being the first to record an observation of the meteor shower back in 36 A.D. "It would be very interesting to try to identify earlier observations, as they might give us a clue as to the physical evolution of the comet over thousands of years", adds Prof Bailey, who has written scientific literature connecting history, archaeology and astronomy. This year is going to be especially striking because of the new moon, painting the ideal backdrop for the late-summer nature show. Traveling even a few miles away from bright, urban city centers can make a huge difference in the visibility of the Perseids shower.

The meteor shower is actually the Earth moving into particles of dust and rock from the comet, some as small as grains of sand.

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