Burning Tears Of Saint Lawrence

Tonight through August 13 the Perseid meteor shower promises to deliver peak sightings. According to science – “In 1835, Adolphe Quetelet identified the shower as emanating from the constellation Perseus. In 1866, after the perihelion passage of Swift-Tuttle in 1862, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli discovered the link between meteor showers and comets.“. Seems over zealous astronomers neglected to ask the church were Perseid originated.

Martyred Christian deacon Saint Lawrence was put to death August 10, 258 AD by Roman emperor Valerian. According to legend Lawrence was grilled to death over hot coals. Before succumbing to his death deacon Lawrence is said to have told his torturers he was “done” on one side and to turn him over. ( reason National Geographic claims made Lawrence the patron saint of chefs ) History documents Catholic observance of Saint Lawrence martyrdom on August 10 since the fourth century.

Somewhere in the annuals of early Catholic history Perseids became the fiery tears of Saint Lawrence. Clearly the only explanation for a annual event coinciding with grilling the patron saint of chefs.

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A Perseid meteor crosses the night sky over a statue of Jesus Christ in a Belarusian village on August 13, 2016. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/08/news-perseid-meteor-lawrence-christianity/

The annual Perseid meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through a stream of dust from the Comet Swift-Tuttle, as shown in this orbit diagram.

Go to https://www.space.com/32868-perseid-meteor-shower-guide.html for tips on watching Perseid.

2018 Perseids

Every year between July 17 and August 24 Earth orbit crosses paths with debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Swift-Tuttle follows a long exaggerated oblong orbit, a journey of 133 years to complete one lap from beyond Pluto when farthest from the Sun, to inside Earth orbit when closest to our Sun. Swift-Tuttle’s behemoth debris tail is a product of solar warming – every time it passes through the inner solar system, solar energy loosens particles of icy comet releasing tiny particles into the debris stream. Particles which smack our atmosphere at 210,000 km/hour to deliver the Perseid Meteor shower.

This year, Perseid 2018 coincides with a near moonless sky on August 11, 12 and 13. Recommended viewing typically suggests observation points away from city lights between midnight and dawn. Dark skies help but don’t give up if you aren’t a night crawler or can’t escape light pollution. Be sky aware, gaze upwards and if you’re lucky a spectacular earthgrazer ( slow, colourful meteors traveling along the horizon before midnight when the radiant point of comet debris is close to the horizon ) might just make your day.


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Image result for astro bob perseid

Earth encounters debris from comet, via Astro Bob.

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Image result for perseid meteor 2018

Image result for perseid meteor 2018


Jupiter’s Gravity Doubles Perseid Meteor Show 2016

Every summer Earth passes cosmic rubble from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Known as the Perseid meteor shower, (after constellation Perseus –  radiant point in north-east skies)  reigning champion of annual meteor events. Dependable, prolific Perseid rarely disappoints. Between July 17-August 24, Perseid teases summer nights with previews of the main event – peak performance of 60-100 meteors an hour between August 9-13.

Comet Swift-Tuttle circles the Sun in an oblong 133 year orbit. At perihelion (closest orbital point to the Sun, last reached in 1992 ) solar energy melts ice (primary mass of most comets ) releasing trapped space bits which join the comet’s tail. Extending hundreds of thousands Km, debris shadows Swift-Tuttle’s solar orbit. Perseid showers when Earth’s orbit intersects the outer edge of Swift-Tuttle’s tail. Every so often Jupiter’s gravitational influence stirs Swift-Tuttle’s tail – this year happens to be an “every so often” event.

Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office announced Jupiter’s gravity pulled three streams of comet tail closer to Earth’s orbit, making 2016 the first time since 2009 Perseid watchers can anticipate an outburst of activity. Courtesy of Jupiter, instead of skimming Swift-Tuttle fringes we’ll pass through freshly tugged regions of space dust – projected meteors per hour will double to 200,

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Perseids in Aug. 2015, a composite image by Petr Horalek of Kolonica, Slovakia [more]

Perseids Timelapse

Unable to shake growing anticipation for peak Perseids early next week, ponders turned to finding the perfect timelapse teaser.



Pondering Perseid

As August approaches, imprinted longing for meteors follow. Youthful recollections ebb and flow, the one constant is Perseid. These were the stars I wished upon, my source of wonder, the reason I gazed at night’s sky. Perseid lent perspective to questions I hadn’t asked, cementing the essence of who I became. Effortless memory presses damp grass against my back, heart beating to the pulse of cricket song. Swaddled in darkness, even the wind waits for Perseid.

Every year between July 17 and August 24, Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle.  Swift-Tuttle has a wonky oblong orbit, completing one orbit around the sun every 133 years. during those years ST travels from beyond Pluto to inside Earth’s orbit. Whenever ST crosses the inner solar system heat from our sun “melts” comet ice adding cosmic debris to ST’s tail. Little break away pieces, most no larger than grains of sand slam Earth’s upper atmosphere at 210,000 kilometers an hour – the Perseids have arrived.

This year the Perseids peak August 11-13. Early northern hemisphere evening finds radiant Perseus low on the horizon, if you’re lucky a rare “Earthgrazer”might forge a horizontal blaze across the horizon. As evening becomes night the radiant point rises, Perseid abandons rehearsal for the main event. Perseid’s tantalizing sets play through the night – from midnight till first light’s encore,  expect 50-100 meteors an hour.

This year, a waning crescent moon won’t come up until just before sunrise, setting a dark stage for Perseid glory. It doesn’t matter if radiant Perseus eludes you, Perseids knock loudly. Noted for being exceptionally fast and bright, their ionized gas trails often hang in the sky for wondrous moments. Dismiss concentrating on specific direction – find a dark place, lay back and open your eyes to the cosmos. Perseid will find you.

View larger. | Meteor seen at Acadia National Park during the 2012 Perseid meteor shower.  Photo from EarthSky Facebook friend Jack Fusco Photography.  See more from Jack here.




Hail Perseids

A few minutes ago I stepped outside for a whiff of air, apparently on cue.  Closing the door the exact moment a magnificent fireball split night’s horizon. Not some timid falling star – a full on cosmic slap, complete with adrenalin rush, racing pulse and heightened senses. Night had my undivided attention. I get goosebumps thinking about it – one of those inexplicable portraits, indelibly etched in conscience for all eternity. It’s entirely possible I danced a jig while chanting “hail Perseid” in my head.

August brings the annual Perseid meteor shower – dependable and prolific, the source of countless childhood wishes. Peaking on August 12, debris from comet Swift-Tuttle has competition this year. Reaching a zenith two days after a “super moon”, (14% bigger and 30% brighter than average full moons) light pollution plans to give Perseid a run for the money. Linked below are tips from earthsky to maximize viewing….


Another link…


All I ask is to open your night eyes the next few days. Promise me – if Perseid smacks your head – dance an impromptu jig while chanting hail Perseid.