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08/13/2010

Perseid meteor shower

Skywatchers were treated to a spectacular show late Aug. 12 and early Aug. 13, compliments of the Perseid meteor shower. The display is sparked every August when the Earth passes through a stream of space debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle.

Meteor-shower5 KIERAN DOHERTY/Reuters

A meteor streaks through the night sky over Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain, southern England. (Aug. 12, 2010)

Meteor-shower JON NAZCA/REUTERS

A view from El Torcal nature park reserve in the southern Spanish town of Antequera. (Aug. 13, 2010)

Meteor-shower2 BORIS GRDANOSKI/The Associated Press

The Perseid meteor shower from just south of Macedonia's capital Skopje. (Aug. 13, 2010)

Meteor-shower3 JORGE GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images

The view near the town of Grazalema, southern Spain. (Aug. 13, 2010)

Meteor-shower6

LISI NIESNER/REUTERS

A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky over Leeberg hill in Grossmugl, some 30 km north of Vienna, Austria. (Aug. 12, 2010)

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That is absolutely incredible. I wish I had seen it in real life, I know that pictures don't do these things justice.

It was awesome for my 8 year old son to see his very first meteors! Wish we could have stayed up later, but what we did see was marvelous.

With all due respect, meteors are not rare things at all. The problem is light pollution - all the ones we should be seeing, at least a few per night, are washed out by stray light. I *guarantee* that if you drive out into the countryside, and let your eyes get 'dark adjusted', you'll see meteors - every cloudless night. And, indeed, they are grand. It's just a shame that their grandeur is now usually hidden from us. One more dollar in the price of progress I guess.

Guass, being a sort of "country boy" myself - I know that meteors in of themselves are not rare. But a display where there are 60 to 80 meteor sightings an hour is not very common at all and in order to see such a display, the earth needs to be in a position where it is traveling through one of the meteor "showers" that it visits a few times a year on it's way around the sun.

Although my dad and i tried to get away from the light pollution, we were still unable to see the full show. But what i did see was really amazing! I saw a couple of nice meteors that left streaks in the sky, that was a real treat:D But it is a shame the light pollution that surrounds us prevents us from seeing the true grandeur of the August showers, and meteors in general.

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