Weather plays spoilsport, some Perseids meteors seen

Last Updated: Friday, August 13, 2010 - 14:06

Sakaras: Light showers and
clouds dampened expectations of stargazers who could witness
only some Perseids meteors streaking across the skies in
the wee hours of on Friday.

Perseids, a prolific meteor shower, is associated
with the comet Swift-Tuttle.

While the presence of a crescent moon had raised hopes
of great view of the celestial fireworks for skygazers who
had gathered in this remote area, the weather played a
spoilsport and the shooting stars were seen with the naked
eyes between 12:30 hrs and 0200 hrs.

According to Science Popularisation Association of
Communicators and Educators (SPACE) Director C B Devgun, the
earth passed through a denser-than-usual filament of dust from
Perseid’s parent comet Swift-Tuttle.

These small rocky fragments entered the atmosphere
and burnt up due to friction, forming streaks of light, R C
Kapoor from Indian Institute of Astrophysics told PTI.

The meteor shower is expected to be visible up to
August 24, N Sri Raghunandan Kumar, General Secretary of
Planetary Society of India said. The celestial spectacle will
be visible from the north-eastern direction.

Perseids can be witnessed from mid-July each year,
with the greatest activity in the second week of August.

During the peak period, the rate of meteors reaches
60 or more per hour, Devgun said.

The meteor is named Perseids because the point it
appears to come from, lies in the constellation Perseus.

Astronomers have been observing Perseid meteor shower
for about last 2,000 years, with the first known information
coming from the Far East, Devgun said.

In early medieval Europe, the Perseids came to be
known as the "tears of St. Lawrence".

In 1839, Eduard Heis was the first observer to take a
meteor count and discovered that Perseids had a maximum rate
of around 160 per hour.


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First Published: Friday, August 13, 2010 - 14:06

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