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It’s time to watch St. Lawrence’s Tears. No, it’s not a soap opera.

If you happen to be a night owl or an early riser, August 8th through the 13th are the times you want to be outside this year watching the Perseid meteor shower. The shower gets its secular name because it appears to originate in the constellation Perseus. The meteors are the remnants of the comet Swift-Tuttle and each year bits of it pass through our atmosphere.

A meteor streaks across the sky during the 2009 Perseid shower

A meteor streaks across the sky during the 2009 Perseid shower (Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, the 13th, which is peak day (I’m sure there’s an NFP joke in there somewhere) is also host to a full moon so the chances of seeing the meteors is much lower, especially if you live in a city where you already suffer from the light pollution. The early morning of August 9th is really your best chance to see the shower because the moon sets early enough that you don’t have to deal with the sunrise as well.

St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence

In Catholic circles the shower has been christened “the burning tears of St. Lawrence” because it falls during his feast day which is August 10th. St. Lawrence was a deacon in the early Church who was martyred in 258 on August 10th by being roasted on a grate. He told his tormentors that he was done on one side and was ready to be turned over.

For more information about the shower take a gander over at Astronomy.com.

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