Dumb it down
Why you should do a bit of skygazing this weekend
We know it's hard to take your eyes off the Olympics, but you should cast your eyes skywards at some stage this weekend.
The old ‘look up’ trick, eh? I’m not falling for that one again...
Don’t worry, if we were trying to scam you we would have done it already. All we want to do is remind you that there is some pretty spectacular stuff going to be flying over your head this weekend.
To be honest, lots of stuff goes over our heads...
We thought so but once a year the Perseid Shower comes to town and in 2012 it is this weekend.
The Perseid Shower? Didn’t Donnacha O’Callaghan do ads for them?
Right, back to basics then. The Perseids are, according to Astronomy Ireland the result of an annual passing of the Earth through the trail of dust left by the Swift-Tuttle comet. As we pass through it the bits and pieces that are in the cloud burn up on entry to the Earth’s atmosphere, giving us a free, and spectacular, light show as hundreds of meteors burn up and streak across the sky.
Sounds great, how long has this been around?
They reckon the best part of 2,000 years but it wasn’t until 1867 that they worked out that the phenomenon was caused by the comet.
Will I need any special equipment to look at it?
Nope, the naked eye will do the job and if the weather stays cloud free, we should be in a for a great show.
When is the best time to leave the pub and have a gawk?
Well, the peak is Sunday night but it began on August 5 so if you are out after dark tonight or tomorrow night, make sure you have a look.
And will it be hard to spot these little fellas burning up in the night sky?
Nope, at peak there could be 50 every hour of them lighting up the sky so there should be no problem for you.
Sounds good. Is there any danger that they will fall on me?
No, no need to put on your tin hat. They are travelling at 212,433 kilometres per second so they break up fairly sharpish in the Earth’s atmosphere.
All good, clean, safe and free fun then?
Yep, what more could you want.