Clouds could ruin chances of seeing major meteor shower

The night sky over Germany will be ablaze this week as the annual Perseids meteor shower takes place, but cloud cover may scupper some stargazers' plans, the German Weather Service (DWD) said.

Clouds could ruin chances of seeing major meteor shower
Photo: DPA

Beginning on Tuesday evening, German residents under clear skies will be able to see up to 100 meteors per hour, with the high point expected on Thursday night. The night-time spectacular ends on Saturday.

But weather conditions could snuff out plans to watch the celestial fireworks show across much of the country.

“Overnight on Wednesday the eastern half of the country looks good,” DWD meteorologist Robert Scholz said, adding that residents in the northwest would also be likely to see the streams of cosmic debris entering the earth’s atmosphere.

But Scholz said he had little hope of a cloudless night on Friday.

“For that we’ll need a lot of luck everywhere,” he said.

The Perseids meteor shower takes its name from the constellation Perseus, which appears to be the shower’s radiant, the point from which the meteors seem to emit. In actuality the yearly event comes from debris associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle’s path around the earth.

The first documented sighting of the Perseid meteor shower dates back some 2,000 years in China. In Europe the event was first recorded in 811. Colloquially it came to be known as the “tears of St. Lawrence” because it usually fell near August 10, the date of the saint’s martyrdom during the persecution of Valerian in Rome in 258.

Among scores of deacons and priests put to death, Lawrence was said to have met his torturous death on a gridiron.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

Parts of Germany will see another heatwave this week as temperatures soar.

What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

The German Weather Service (DWD) has predicted that the mercury will climb in some regions of to around 34C this week. 

“After low pressure ‘Karin’ gave parts of Germany rain, sometimes in large quantities, high pressure ‘Piet’ is now back in pole position,” said meteorologist Lars Kirchhübel of the DWD.

This high pressure zone will dominate the weather in large parts of western and central Europe over the coming days, the weather expert said, adding that it will reach Germany too. 

On Monday temperatures remained fairly cool across the country after a weekend of showers, but they are set to climb over the course of the week, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters predict it could reach 32C in Stuttgart and 33C in Cologne on Thursday. Locally, temperatures could reach 34C. 

However, from the Oder and Neisse rivers to the Erzgebirge mountains and southeast Bavaria, denser clouds and some showers are to be expected. This is due to a high-level low pressure system over the Balkan region, according to forecasters. Short showers are also possible in the Black Forest.

“In most of the rest of the country, high ‘Piet’ will be able to hold its ground,” said Kirchhübel.

READ ALSO: Heavy rain in Bavaria swells rivers, but flooding avoided

At the end of the week, thunderstorms are forecast but temperatures are expected to remain high. 

August in Germany ‘too dry’

According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, August as a whole – apart from a few areas in eastern Germany – will be too dry compared to the multi-year average.

The Black Forest, the High Rhine and the Allgäu to the Bavarian Forest, however, are not expected to have any major problems due to the high rainfall of the past few days.

“Looking at Rhineland-Palatinate, the southern half of Hesse, the western half of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Franconia shows a different picture,” said Kirchhübel. In the last 30 days, only about 10 percent of the usual level of precipitation fell in some places.

“At some stations, no precipitation at all has been measured in August,” added Kirchhübel, referencing Würzburg as an example.

Rainfall at the weekend caused the water in the Rhine river to rise slightly. In Emmerich, the water level reached a positive value again after the historic low of the past few days: in the morning, it showed three centimetres – an increase of six centimetres compared to the previous day.

The water level also rose by several centimetres at the other measuring points in North Rhine-Westphalia: in Cologne, the level rose to 80cm and in Düsseldorf to 38cm.

READ ALSO: Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

Despite this encouraging trend, the Waterways and Shipping Authority said it did not expect a huge improvement in water levels in the foreseeable future due to more hot weather coming.