Weather plays spoilsport in India, some Perseids meteors seen | india | Hindustan Times
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Weather plays spoilsport in India, some Perseids meteors seen

india Updated: Aug 13, 2010 13:30 IST

Light showers and clouds dampened expectations of stargazers who could witness only some Perseids meteors streaking across the skies in the wee hours 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, RC 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.