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Mythological Shower Lights up the Sky Over Rhodes

Published: Tue 11 Sep 2012 at 09:19

Updated: Tue 11 Sep 2012 at 09:20


People booking cheap flights to Rhodes this summer were treated to a spectacular sight – the annual Perseids meteor shower, which is usually at its best from 8th to 14th of August.

August was exceptionally hot in Rhodes this year, rarely dipping below 30 degrees Celsius. The evenings, however, were far cooler – and this was the time to see one of the wonders of nature that make cheap flights to the Greek Islands all the more special – the annual Perseids meteor shower. 

Like many Greek islands, Rhodes is crammed with ancient archaeological sites, with numerous references to Greek mythology, so it is fitting that the shower is named after the legendary descendants of Perseus and Andromeda, whose number included the famed hero Heracles. 

An Amazing Sight

In reality, the shooting stars are fragments left in the wake of the Swift-Tuttle comet as it follows its 130-year orbit. The comet is far older than this, however. Sightings of the Perseids, named as such because their radiant point aligns with the constellation of Perseus, date back 2,000 years, and most of the dust ejected today is at least 1,000 years old. 

However, there is a younger filament, dating back a mere 150 years, with a much higher ejection rate. These shooting stars have the alternative name of the Tears of St Lawrence, a reference to the fact they appear around the time of St Lawrence Day, on 10th August. On a good night, they can be just seconds apart. 

Clear, cloud-free skies and lack of light pollution make the Greek Islands a great destination for keen astronomers. 

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