Sunday, August 12, 2007

God's Free Light Show Tonight: The Perseid Meteor Showers

Go out tonight and watch one of God's best light shows. I plan too. After midnight Monday morning (August 13) is the best time to watch, someplace away from city lights. Just look to the east.

Click here for a great list of 12 things you need to watch the Perseids or any meteor shower--and learn the difference between a meteor and a comet.

At around 1:00a, I drove up Bernal Road in South San Jose almost to the IBM complex at the top, to try to get away from the city lights. Seems like lots of other people had the same idea! There were about 10 other cars parked along the road near the top with people huddled in blankets sitting outside against the hillside looking out over Blossom Valley toward the east. I drove a little further up from the crowd to avoid the headlights from cars coming up the hill.

Granted, it's still not far enough from the city. (Last time I drove down 101 and stopped at a truck rest stop near Morgan Hill. Much darker but not as nice as area.) But the first streak I saw was a long bright stream that stretched right over my head almost all the way down to the faint glow of amber from the city lights in the distance. During the next hour, I saw 8 more shorter bursts of lights throughout the sky and got to gaze at many more constellations than I would normally see from my deck.

Christian lore calls the Perseid meteor showers "Saint Lawrence's tears" because they always appear around August 10, Saint Lawrence the Martyr's feast day. Others refer to them as the shower of gold in which the Greek god, Zeus, appeared to the human, Danae. Their encounter resulted in the birth of Perseus. The divine descends to meet the human. Sound familiar?

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