San Lorenzo – night of the shooting stars

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It is an Italian tradition to celebrate the night between the 9th and the 10th of August with some special event. What is so special about this night of the year? For a period of time going from the end of July until August 20, the Earth is in a particular phase during its revolution around the Sun. During those nights it is in fact possible to see a great number of shooting stars, meteor, that enter the Terrestrial orbit. These pieces of rock, that enter our atmosphere are called the Perseids, and are fragments left off by the major comet Swift-Tuttle that passes by the Earth every 134 years. The peak moment has historically been August 10, the night of San Lorenzo in Italy. Although due to astral adjustments the actual peak has moved to the 12th of August, the night between the 9th and the 10th is still celebrated the same.  – source

The 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, 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

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 Catholics refer to the Perseids as the “tears of St. Lawrence”, since August 10 is the date of that saint’s martyrdom.

The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity being between August 9 and 14, depending on the particular location of the stream. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. They can be seen all across the sky, but because of the path of Swift-Tuttle’s orbit, Perseids are primarily visible in the northern hemisphere. As with all meteor showers, the rate is greatest in the pre-dawn hours, since the side of the Earth nearest to turning into the sun scoops up more meteors as the Earth moves through space. – source  – wikipedia

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