Perseid Meteor Shower: August 12, 2010

Location in sky: http://www.amsmeteors.org/showers.html

The Perseid meteor shower that will peak Thursday night and Friday morning is expected to be unusually bright and visible in the night sky this year because moonlight won’t be hampering the celestial show. The best time to watch will be from midnight to dawn, and the best place to watch will be any dark-sky spot you can find.

From Wikipedia:

perseidThe Perseids is the name of a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseids are so-called because the point they appear to come from, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. The name derives in part from the word Perseides (Περσείδες), a term found in Greek mythology referring to the descendants of Perseus. The stream of debris is called the Perseid cloud and stretches along the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it travels on its 130-year orbit. Most of the dust in the cloud today is around a thousand years old. However, there is also a relatively young filament of dust in the stream that was pulled off the comet in 1862.[1] The rate of meteors originating from this filament is much higher than for the older part of the stream.

The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years, with the earliest information on this meteor shower coming from the Far East.[2] Some Catholics refer to the Perseids as the “tears of St. Lawrence”, since August 10 is the date of that saint’s martyrdom.[3]