Meteor Shower Visible From Cyprus

Tue 14th August, 2007

Until Tuesday 14th August, we’ll be able to watch the annual Perseid meteor shower with the naked eye. Around 50 ‘shooting stars’ per hour will appear across the sky. The brightest of them can sail across the sky for several seconds, leaving a glowing trail among the stars. The best hour to watch it in Cyprus is around 4am.

Every year at this time, the Swift-Tuttle comet crosses the same point of orbit, leaving behind a trail of dust, stones and ice. The Earth then crosses this trail, and its elements burn up in our atmosphere. They appear as tiny, quick jets of bright light. They are so bright because they shine their own light.

Ioannis Fakas from the Fakas institute explained: “This year we can see the meteors even better, because of the good weather conditions. It is just before New Moon, in other word’s the moon's light will not intrude, the sky will be dark, and we will be able to see the Perseid meteors, named after their original constellation, Perseus, clearly.”

The Perseid meteor shower has been observed now for about 2000 years, and the first known information about it comes from the Far East. In the Middle Ages in Europe, the Perseid meteors used to be called "tears of St Lawrence".
For a chance to learn more about the falling stars, you can watch the phenomenon with the help of specialists. The astronomers of the Fakas institute are inviting the public to watch the sky with them in the garden of the hospital of Kyperounda in Troodos from 9pm onwards on Sunday.

If you’re going to enjoy it by yourself, the best time is 4am and the best place is outside the city. Try then to find a dark place with a wide-open view of the sky, and look in a northeasterly direction; don’t focus on any particular part of the sky, just try to observe as wide area as possible. It will be easier if you lie down on a blanket in order to avoid the neck strain.