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The August Perseids

Nature volume 20, pages 457459 | Download Citation



THIS remarkable meteor shower recurring annually on August 10 is looked for every year with increasing diligence. To Quetelet belongs the credit of having first (in 1835) ascertained the epoch of its maximum display, though the month of August had long been known as one in which there was an abundance of falling stars. As early as 1762 Muschenbroek, in his work on “Natural Philosophy,” stated that, according to his own observations, there were more shooting stars in August than at any other period of the year, and his remark is perfectly true applied to the first half of that month, though it is questionable whether the last half of August will bear comparison with that of July, when meteors fall very plentifully, and constitute a periodical display of special note on the 27th–31st. Since Quetelet determined the date of the Perseids, they have been expected every year with great interest, and from the time that Heis first began systematically to register the paths of meteors (nearly half a century ago) to the present day, observers have continued to record the successive apparitions of this prominent star-shower, so that multitudes of its meteors are now accumulated in the catalogues of British and foreign astronomers.

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