Perseids prime the pump
August 2004: The view of the Milky Way in a star-studded sky highlights August nights, although the best sights this month should be of meteoric debris flaring to incandescence.
The grandeur of a star-filled sky, viewed on a balmy summer night under a dark country sky, leaves an indelible impression on anyone who sees it. Not coincidentally, our first wishes upon shooting stars often occurred on such back-country sojourns. From late July to late August, Earth sweeps up innumerable interplanetary dust particles and the atmosphere burns them into oblivion, creating silent streaks that slice across the sky.