Dave and Gerry's Alonissos Island Information Site

Perseid Meteor Display

If you are on Alonissos during the middle of August there is a meteor display in the skies above.  This is known as the Perseids and occurs normally about 2-3 days prior to Panagia.  The meteor shower comes from the Swift-Tuttle comet which returns to our solar system every 130 years.  The comet's orbit is littered with bits of debris which form the tail of the comet and every year the orbit of the Earth passes through the comet's tail starting about the third week of July and ending one month later.  The tilt of the comet's orbit means that cosmic dust falls on the Earth's northern hemisphere and on looking into the sky the meteors will appear to flow from the constellation Perseus; hence the name Perseids.

The best time to look for meteors is when Perseus is highest in the sky, between 2am and dawn.  The meteors will radiate in the sky from the northeast, so make sure you have a compass handy.  The peak of the display is usually between August 12th and August 13th and the shower's peak is long-lasting so you should see plenty of meteors on both days.  There are two potential problems to a good view of the meteor shower.  One problem is cloud cover obscuring the sky and the other is the phase of the moon.  Close to a full moon there will be a very bright glow in the sky which will make visualisation of the comets difficult until it sets.  In 2005 the moon will be in its first quarter so will not cause too much interference but in 2006 the meteor shower coincides with a full moon, so viewing may be a problem.

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