Night of the Shooting Stars: The Perseids and the Summer Sky
Monday 12th August 20:30 - Late
Cheddar Scouts' Hut, The Hayes, Cheddar, Somerset (behind Cheddar First School)
The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseids are so-called because the point from which they appear to come, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. The name derives from the word Perseides (Περσείδες), a term found in Greek mythology referring to the sons of Perseus. The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years, with the earliest information on this meteor shower coming from the Far East. Some refer to the Perseids as the "tears of St. Lawrence", since 10 August is the date of that saint's martyrdom
A stream of debris called the Perseid cloud 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, when these enter the Earth's atmosphere they heat up and form shooting stars. There may well be in excess of 60 such shooting stars every hour.
An evening not to be missed. The Perseids occur at the same time each year, but next year there will be a full moon at the time of the Perseids peak and it will be very difficult to see the shooting stars - so make sure you catch this spectacular sight this year!
There will be a talk on Meteors by Chris Starr, an exhibition of posters, refreshments and opportunities to view the night sky through members' telescopes. For the first part of the evening we will highlight the crescent Moon and the planet Saturn in the south-west, before we turn to the summer stars and the Milky Way, then the Perseid meteors. There will also be a presentation on radio detection of meteors by Ben Sutlieff, our Junior Section leader, and his team, as well as demonstrations of this throughout the evening.
We look forward to seeing you there.