Tonight is the night of the shooting stars; the phenomenon is caused by the wake created by comets. Specifically, because comets leave wakes of dust and particles as they approach the sun.

Shooting stars under Spain's skiesThe Earth’s orbit crosses the trail left by the comet’s tail, so that particles enter the atmosphere and are burned to generate the shooting stars. The speed of this cosmic debris is approximately 60 kilometres per second.

The event lasts about 30 days a year, but reaches its crescendo in a single night, 12 to August 13. Tonight, if the clouds permit, you can get to see two or three meteors per minute falling across the sky.

Beaches are usually the most popular viewpoints as well as other places clear of city light pollution with a horizon that is wide and dark. Neither binoculars or telescopes are needed as the event can be seen with the naked eye. Head up to the hills or down to the beach!

Image bycptspock under Creative Commons.