Saturday, 20 August 2011

Shooting Star

This is the time of year for the Perseid meteors.  Wikipedia tells me they are debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle and that they are so-called because the point they appear to come from lies in the Perseus constellation.

I had never heard of them in the UK.  But then with all the pollution and light-spill at night in South East England I doubt they would have been visible.

The first year we were here, we took the batmobile up to the ridge behind us and lay back with the roof open star-gazing.  It's all too easy to begin to imagine things in the velvet black with so many stars overhead.  Tiny, momentary pin pricks of light - are they actually meteors or just our eyes playing tricks?

This year has not been a good one for seeing them. The moon has been full through the peak viewing time and the sky has not been dark enough.  But the moon has been rising later and later and last night, walking back up from the cottage after watering the new "hot border", I needed the torch to see where I was going.

The Plough (one of the few constellations I recognise) hung huge and low in the northern sky, straight above our chemin rural. It looked as if I could walk right up to it.

And then I saw it!  A shooting star.  A long slow fall across the sky, in front of The Plough and over the roof of our house.  No doubt about it.

Maybe I should have made a wish, but I didn't need to. It had already been granted.

Wikipedia article on Perseids
Photo of this year's meteors from Mike Long taken in the Hautes Alpes - article here


  1. We watch for these each year. Ive seen 4 real beauties so far (I saw them when we were in Devon). I remember one year (in the mid 1980's) my mum and I lay on the lawn at midnight and so absolutely thousands - it was amazing. Ive watched out for them ever since. Remember - you get one wish per shooting star. xx

  2. Oh Diane I love the thought of you and your Mum. You must have had so many wishes. :)