Did you notice something funny about the Google logo yesterday? It was full of falling stars. This marked the maximum of this year's Perseid meteor shower. Every year about this time, Earth moves through the exhaust cloud left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. When gravel and sand from the comet enters our atmosphere the grains burn brightly, looking like shooting stars. The meteor shower, that has been known for over 2000 years, looks like it originates in the constellation named for the Greek hero Perseus. But Swift-Tuttle itself wasn't observed until 1862!
Last night before bed time me and my wife lay down flat on our backs on a blanket in the yard and looked up for a while. Because of cloud cover and ground light we saw only a few bright stars and no Perseids. But tonight is going to be another good one for falling stars. Check them out!
Update 14 August: Saw one! And a surprising number of artificial satellites, little moving dots. And an air plane.
I saw one!
About half the sky was clear as I waited for the bus outside the Karolinska last night so I spent about ten minutes staring at the sky (and probably looking like a wierdo to anyone who saw me).
I was laying on my back in the Luma park in Hammarby SjÃ¶stad, looking and feeling like a drunk. But too many clouds and city lights! Maybe tonight (Josephine).
And then, just before you fell asleep, you thought to yourself, "Somebody should write a hitch-hiker's guide to the galaxy."
Too much light pollution.
I've not looked into the Perseids too much, but based on my own observations I would've claimed they were mainly off the northern horizon. However, the last two nights I've watched them streak through the southern sky.