Friday, 13 August 2010
The Perseids are a meteor shower that happens every August, and is best seen from the Northern Hemisphere. It's caused by debris from Swift-Tuttle, a huge comet that swings through the inner part of our Solar System every 133 years and leaves behind a trail of dust and gravel.
When Earth passes through the debris, specks hit our atmosphere at 140,000mph and disintegrate in flashes of light. Some of the meteors are more spectacular than others - a fireball is when it's brighter than a star. Last night there was a brief break in the cloud and I managed to see one, despite the light pollution from London, which isn't too far away. Its tail was like a silver firework, very bright and a lot bigger than I expected. It was worth getting up at 3.30 in the morning to see it!