53: Perseid showers

‘The annual Perseid meteor shower is expected to put on a dazzling sky show. Astronomers say up to 100 meteors per hour are expected to streak across the sky during the shower’s peak.’
Guardian online Datablog, Aug 12 2009

When I was a teenager for several years in a row we went camping in Somerset in August. There was always one night when we’d end up sitting out until three, lying on a blanket, huddling together guiltily for warmth. And every year, magically, we saw shooting stars. I’ll never forget the first time I saw them, I felt, in the way that young people do, they were being thrown across the sky for us, because we were having such a great holiday. The icing on the cake.

I only realised a couple of years ago that we were witnessing an annual event, the Perseid meteor shower. I didn’t see it this year because it was cloudy. And more to the point I was asleep in bed. But I remember the feeling that the skies were spinning just for me. And maybe that’s the purpose in making stars fly, to give humans a sense of wonder and the feeling that in a giant universe, our small lives mean something special.


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