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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Tears of St. Lawrence - August 11th-13th

Have you ever watched the Perseid Meteor Shower? What an incredible light show! The event has also been called, from antiquity, The Tears of St. Lawrence.

St. Lawrence, also called Laurentius, a Christian deacon, is said to have been "martyred by the Romans in 258 AD on an iron outdoor stove. It was in the midst of this torture that Laurentius cried out: "I am already roasted on one side and, if thou wouldst have me well cooked, it is time to turn me on the other."

The saint's death was commemorated on his feast day, Aug. 10. King Phillip II of Spain built his monastery place the "Escorial," on the plan of the holy gridiron. And the abundance of shooting stars seen annually between approximately Aug. 8 and 14 have come to be known as St. Lawrence's "fiery tears."

The best possible tip for viewing: travel outside the city. "Light pollution" greatly reduces visibility as do the many structures that obscure the night sky.

Check your city and county parks departments. Many offer "night sky viewings" organized by local college astronomy departments and park personnel.

Finally, PRAY for a clear sky! Cloud cover will make the viewing impossible.

So, grab a blanket and gaze at the night sky with your loved ones. The "ooohs" and "aaahs" will rival those of the 4th of July fireworks display.

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