Tonight We Fly Through the Comet's Tail


Treat yourself tonight to a good Scottish malt, a balaclava, and a spectacular display of shooting stars

The Perseids return.

Not real stars, of course, but a shower of tiny specks of comet dust that sprinkle our atmosphere at about 60 times the speed of a bullet, vapourising as they puff into non-existence.

No need for kit (telescopes, that is; though you’re quite welcome to wander out in the buff as far as I’m concerned) – your naked eye alone provides a wider angle of view. The display starts tonight, but tomorrow morning will be the best time to see the show.

The Perseids are particles that form the tail of the comet Swift-Tuttle , though I dare say the comet itself is unaware of its name. Indeed, I dare say the comet is unaware, but how can we really tell ?

Anyhow, the centre of comet Swift-Tuttle is millions of miles from Earth, but part of its tail crosses the orbital path of the Earth as our planet moves around the Sun

How very obliging of it. It seems that comets are very agreeable objects. Though I dare say (again) the dinosaurs may have a rather different view of the matter

Comets giveth, and comets taketh away , as George Bush once said . . . perhaps

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