Vigil of the Tears of St Lawrence

Today is the Vigil of St. Lawrence, in the older, traditional Roman calendar, replete with purple vestments. Before our feasts we Catholics do some penance.

What this also means, however, is that it is time for the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, so called because the meteors appear to be streaking out from within the constellation Perseus.

And the shower has been traditionally nicknamed the Tears of St. Lawrence.

Each year our little whirling blue ball zooms through the debris of a comet named Swift-Tuttle. They will peak on 13 August this year at about 0700 CUT (GMT) We have a big Moon right now, which might decrease our meteoric joy, but… that’s life.

So, those of you in the northern hemisphere should get out there and watch the meteors. If you have children, make a plan. I have fond memories of looking into the heavens as a kid.

Please share!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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6 Responses to Vigil of the Tears of St Lawrence

  1. albinus1 says:

    I loved astronomy when I was a kid. I suppose I was fortunate in being young at the time of the Apollo program. I remember when I was about 7 (the same year as Apollo 11) I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to grow up to be an astronomer or a paleontologist. (So I became a Latin teacher. ;-) )

    If you have children, make a plan

    I second that. My father was a Scout leader for many years, and always loved doing star study with the kids. But in later years — say, starting in the late 90s — he found increasingly that the younger kids not only didn’t know anything about the night sky, but they weren’t interested and didn’t care. I realize that it can be difficult to be a stargazer if you live where there is a lot of light pollution; but my father felt that the problem was that, for many of these kids, the night sky just couldn’t compete for their attention with special effects in movies and video games. And that’s sad.

  2. Manhattan Trid says:

    How about a late night barbeque on a gridiron while watching the meteor shower.

  3. chris1 says:

    Most fortunately, my family will be heading out on a beach vacation Saturday. My hope is for a clear sky, and I do intend on waking up my little stupors mundi (ages 4 and 7) and bringing them out onto the beach where the Perseids can be viewed without light pollution, provided the weather cooperates. It’ll be a good real-life part of our homeschool curriculum – astronomy meets religious ed.

    Incidentally, do any of the esteemed readers have recommendations of parishes to attend on Sunday and the upcoming feast? We’ll be in the Butler Beach area near St. Augustine (and yes, we’ll be visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, the Cathedral, the Castillo, and possible the lighthouse for “school.”)

  4. Choirmaster says:

    I always appreciate your astronomy postings, Fr. Z.

    NASA’s “Astronomy Picture of the Day” is required reading every time I log onto the Internet! – I highly recommend it. The pictures are stunning (usually) and they have a nice, one paragraph write up for an explanation. The links are very informative as well.

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  6. ejcmartin says:

    About a decade ago my wife and I went to the coast to see the Perseids. While the sky show was impressive the highlight of the night was hearing the whales in the cove below us bellowing in the pitch black.

    This year I moved to a small community on the coast so once again I can actually see the milky way. I hope Momday brings clears skies. I will take out the lawn chairs and bring my boys to watch the show.the moon shouldn’t be too bad Monday, only a crescent visible and it will rise later at night.