Space: the final frontier. Now you can get your view of its wonders from your back garden.

That’s right, we are due a visit from the Perseids meteor shower tonight (August 12-13) so you best get somewhere away from artificial light, in the dark, lying on your back, and vision unimpaired and ready to see the light show in the sky (weather permitting).

But the Perseids have a long and on-off relationship with planet Earth – stretching back quite some time.

There are a few things you probably didn’t know about the Perseids meteor shower, but here’s what you need to know before you take in the astrological wonders.

Incredible facts about the Perseids meteor shower


1. Comet Swift-Tuttle – the debris of which creates the Perseids meteors – is the largest object to make repeated passes near planet Earth.

2. At 16 miles across, Comet Swift-Tuttle is roughly the same size as the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs.

3. Comet Swift-Tuttle will experience a near-miss of Earth by about a million miles in 3044, according to predictions.

3. The Perseids travel incredibly fast at 133,200 mph (60 kilometers per second).

4. Most of the Perseids are the size of sand grains.

5. If a meteor hits the ground then it is a meteorite.

6. Comet Swift-Tuttle itself was last visible from Earth in 1992.

7. It is believed that Swift-Tuttle was seen from Earth as far back as 188 AD and 69 BC.

8. The Comet will next be seen 2126, according to scientific calculations.

9. The name Perseids is derived from the Greek word Perseidai, meaning the sons of the hero Perseus in Greek mythology. The son of Zeus, King of the Gods, and moral woman Danae, Perseus was famed for his slaying of the Gorgon Medusa and saving Andromeda from the sea creature known as Cetus. The comets are seen in the constellation Perseus.

10. Some Catholics refer to the Perseids as “the tears of Saint Lawrence” after the saint who was buried alive on a gridiron. The canonical date of his martyrdom is August 10, around when the showers are usually seen.

Are you excited for the Perseids? Let us know in the comments below.





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