What are the Perseids?

Oscar Alonso, GMV’s astrophysics expert, explains to us what the Perseids are:


Jono Kane

The Perseids, also known as the tears of saint Lawrence, is a meteor shower which can be enjoyed each year in mid-August. These meteors are the result of the disintegration of the Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits Earth every 133 years, leaving a large cloud of tiny dust particles in its wake. Every year, as it passes through this region, the dust particles enter the atmosphere at great speed (60km per second) and, due to the friction between them, they reach a high temperature which makes them shine.

The name of Perseids is due to the fact that this spectacular meteor shower is concentrated in the part of the sky taken up by the Perseus constellation. And due to its closeness to the day on which saint Lawrence was martyred, it was given the name of “saint Lawrence’s tears.”

This is a particularly good year to observe this natural phenomenon, since the highpoint of the meteor shower (12 and 13 August) coincides with a new moon so that the sky will be clear and dark, offering optimal viewing conditions.

Author: Oscar Alonso

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