Are you going out tonight? I mean out of doors to watch the sky. In a bit I will be going out onto our terrace, and lie back. Which I have done from the last two nights - not all night of course. But at least that long enough to see one at least one meteorite. I don't give up until I see at least one. Not that I know a lot about meteorites, nor will be able to study them with some instrument or anything. But I will not be happy unless and until I see one. Traditionally the night for them is 10 August. But I'm told that this year the 12th will be the best. The last two nights have not been the most favourable. I am in Rome, there is of course a lot of streetlighting around. Despite that, on a good clear night I can see quite a starry sky. These last two nights there's been wispy cloud, and I could see just a handful of stars. First night, well occasionally think I see brief things at of the corner of my eye which were probably that. But then there was a definite one after about 40 minutes so that was okay. Last night the cloud coverage was more complete and I had the same sensations, but at length I saw a very brief small one which must have travelled only a degree or two of arc. So that was okay too. Tonight the sky is clearer, so maybe I'll hold on until I have seen two, three of four. No lack of other stuff in the sky - we are on a Ryanair landing path. About the light pollution I remember one year in the 1990s when I was in Brussels I took family relations out to see what was promised to be an exceptionally spectacular display. But we were warned you had to be somewhere away from streetlights. The trouble was there doesn't seem to be anywhere that is away from streetlights in the whole of Belgium and the Netherlands. Even the most insignificant tertiary lanes are illuminated. Maybe you're never out of earshot of anything either, our presence seemed to have annoyed some dog who barked most of the time. We would have needed to go farther away., to the Ardennes maybe where there might be some relatively lonely places. We didn't see a thing but it was fun. So the meteorites are something to hang something on like this fragment of essay. Or being in Rome as I mentioned, a way to get cool, the only time I have been in the last fortnight when the daytime temperatures have been in the top 30s or 40 degrees. But apart from cooling off it is a moment of meditation. You cannot watch the meteorites while looking at a television or computer screen. For me it's induces a sort of mystic well-being, certainly because it brings back a time, aged 18, of happiness. Maybe nothing that you may be thinking, just a time of blissful carefreeness. I mentioned I am in Rome. Here 10 August is known as la notte di San Lorenzo, (the night of St Lawrence). San Lorenzo Is the patron saint of a traditional working-class quarter, perhaps the traditional working-class quarter with pronounced character, of Rome also known as San Lorenzo near the Central Railway Station. I didn't hear any fireworks on the 10th but I expect there were. That quarter has been undergoing gentrification for years. A section of this working class, the railway workers, naturally congregated there, were I believe, by standards of the times relatively well treated and kept sweet by the fascist regime which wanted the traions to run on time, so the quarter contains some typical 'fascist' style buildings that were apartments specially for the Railway workers. Now quite sought-after in the gentrification. But the railway then attracted American bombers during WW2, particularly one raid killed about 3000 people, and is still remembered and commemorated annually.. It stirred up feeling against the pointless war more than against Americans at the time, and fortunately thanks to international mediation raids against Rome were soon ended. Connection with Science - in I think this same raid a bomb hit and demolished the Library of the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, the oldest building actually in the University of Rome, maybe I'll find a picture. Not very well aimed, as it is about a mile away from the station, but in WW2 bombs didn't usually stop the trains running on time for very long. I think meteorites were quite important theologically in the Middle Ages, I'm trying to remember how the thing went, but the point was about the fact that they represent things apparently in the heavens happening irregularly, and so it was important they had to be 'sublunary', that is inside the moon's orbit around the earth; this was a zone where change was allowed whereas outside it everything else like the sun, planets and stars that rotated around the earth was in the spheres of perfection, where was never change. I think they satisfied themselves that the meteorites were actually sublunary, as of course they are, well at least in their expiring moments that we see with the naked eye. But just when and how this nearness was established, I realise I have no idea. Some early astronomical distanceS were established by observations from different points of the earth. That would seem to require some organisation to do with things that appear at random for a second instead of most astronomical objects that are all the time and stay still! It is time to go out now, so some of you might have a look later, some of you may have been doing in the past two days, anyway the time is still in a few hours in America, and maybe the 'showers' will continue for another night or two. Some of you must be in more favourable places. Anyway this is the thread where you can tell us, a thread to attach your fragments, experiences, anecdotes, meditations, associations, scientific considerations and facts, like when and how did they genuinely know where in the universe these things were located?.,..