The Tears of St. Lawrence are still flowing

Did you know that the annual Perseid Meteor Shower is nicknamed "The Tears of St. Lawrence"?  The shower occurs every year around the feast of the grate … great Saint as Mother Earth zooms through a cloud of debris deposited in the wake of the comet Swift-Tuttle.  The shower is called the "Perseids" because the meteors appear to be stabbing out from the constellation Perseus.

The Tears peak tonight. 

If you have children, even if you have to get them out of bed, take them out (with bug spray if necessary) and show them the meteors.  There can be up to 60 per hour at the peak, so you won’t have to wait long.

One of the great memories of my childhood was being roused in the dead of night – in the even deader bleak midwinter – and lead out onto a frozen lake in northern Minnesota. Following my father’s pointing finger, I aw for the first time a bright comet hanging in motionless in the sky about three feet, it appeared, over my head.

One time I watched the Lagrime di San Lorenzo while lying on my back on a terrace of a villa overlooking the amphitheatre of ancient Cumae.  And a few years ago, I watched the shower for a while with my mother, who was visiting. 

Here is a note about the Perseids from the invaluable Spaceweather.

Spaceweather says you can even listen to the meteors and fireballs live, and even keep count of the meteors as they fry in the earth’s atmosphere.


If you go outside a little early on Thursday evening, around sunset, you’ll see a beautiful gathering of planets in the sunset sky–Venus, Mars, Saturn and the crescent Moon.  It’s a nice way to start a meteor watch.  Sky maps may be found at

BTW… you might try an old PODCAzT about St. Lawrence.  Inspired by the Roman deacon, St. Augustine gives a real barn-burner. St. Augustine on St. Lawrence and how to be a Christian

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Emilio III says:

    It’s -grate- great to see you are feeling better! :-) [I’m not.]

  2. ejcmartin says:

    A number of years ago my wife and I went out the coast to see the Perseids. We did see a few but what was more amazing was the sound of the whales spouting below us in the darks.

  3. Girgadis says:

    Linus had more luck seeing the Great Pumpkin than we’ve had the past 5 years catching this meteor shower. Once again, it’s cloudy and threatening to rain with barely a clear patch in the sky. I was hoping to drive out to Valley Forge with whatever child wants to tag along at 3am but there’s no point of it with the forecast. I’ll have to enjoy the meteors vicariously through those of you lucky enough to see them.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    More prayers coming for you, Father, as you are still ill. We have an odd summer illness in our family, as well.

    Love meteor showers, but it is clouding up as I type. We have had a mini-drought here and the farmers are actually praying for rain. Those north and south of us are having floods. Crazy weather. All the birds disappeared on Monday as we have been having temperatures in the high nineties and even 100, with heat indices of 112-115. I do not know where all the birds have gone, but it is sad.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    It is about 11:30 and the sky is no longer cloudy, but hazy. It is 84 degrees. I just saw two meteors in Perseus itself, but no more in about six minutes. I shall go out later. but the viewing is not good.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    It is six a.m. and I saw 12 wonderful meteors in the past 50 minutes or so. That is fairly good, considering it is partly cloudy here with haze. The temperature is already 79 degrees. We are in for another scorcher.

  7. benstox says:

    What a coincidence. I also had the good fortune this year to watch the Tears while lying on my back on a rooftop within sight of the Acropolis at Cumae. They peaked just in time, on the last night before festival lights for the Assumption would have blotted out the sky.

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