Thursday, 12 August 2010

Perseid Meteor Shower 2010

I've just got back indoors from spending a really rather enjoyable hour or so in the dark of the back garden, sitting on deck chairs, sharing a bottle of rosé with TLH, watching for shooting stars.  Quite romantic really.  If you're nerds.  Which I think we probably are.

The annual Perseid Meteor shower peaked tonight (12 August) at about 11pm and we were blessed with a clear sky, for once.  The Perseid Meteors are bits of dust of the comet Swift-Tuttle that hit our atmosphere at 140,000 mph and streak across the sky.  They come from the direction of the Perseus constellation, hence the name.

TLH and I have looked out for these meteorites for many years now but the sky is usually cloudy so this year was good - plus it was a new Moon (i.e, no moon at all) so the sky was extra dark - if you can ignore the street lights.  The best sky we ever saw was a few years ago when we went glamping in a yurt in the middle of Bodmin Moor where there was no light anywhere - no street lights, no house lights, nothing.  You could see the Milky Way as clear as day and it was astonishing - we decided it would have been the best place to view tonight's meteor shower, so perhaps next year.

All in all, tonight's tally included about 20 meteorites, 2 satellites and a bat.  And a stiff neck, but it's so worth it just to contemplate the mind-boggling majesty of the universe.

1 comment:

peevish said...

How nice for you that you can stay up late for the Perseids. Here, we must wake up super early, which I can't ever be bothered to do. My husband would. He's the star geek in the family. I'm more literature/pop culture geek.

We woke up to a bat roosting on our screen door a week ago. I hated to dislodge the sleepy thing, but hated the idea of it in my house even more. We literally scared the piss out of it when we took the screen off its track to shake the bat off. It flew away like, well, a bat out of heck. Too cute for hell.