'Shooting star' show peaks in Italian skies

Watchers can 'tweet upon a star'

'Shooting star' show peaks in Italian skies

Milan, August 12 - Italy's famed 'St Lawrence Night' shooting-star show will peak Monday, two nights after the feast day. "It should be a magnificent spectacle," scientists at the National Astrophysics Institute (Inaf) said. This year, anyone who witnesses the phenomenon can 'wish upon a star' on Twitter thanks to a new initiative launched by Inaf Friday. Users who have seen a shooting star can express their heart's desire on the Internet, linking them collectively by using the hashtag #stellacadente. Luminous showers started on the night of St Lawrence on August 10, when traditionally shooting stars start to intensify, and are projected to continue until midsummer's night on August 15. In peak hours during the night between August 12 and August 13, between one and two shooting stars are expected to light up the skies each minute. "We are expecting one of the best shows in years," Inaf said. Inaf said it would elaborate the data, volume permitting, after August 15 to calculate the hourly distribution and geographical sightings on the basis of the tweets that have been posted. It will also allow Facebook users to vote on the best wish that has been posted online. Italians also raised their gazes and glasses to the sky on Saturday in the hope that their wishes will be granted thanks to the midsummer meteorite shower. Now in its 16th year, Calici di Stelle (Goblets of Stars) brought some one million people together in over 200 locations to watch the falling stars while enjoying wines and traditional snacks in some of the most beautiful spots in the peninsula. These included Medieval city squares, castles and vineyards from the Valle d'Aosta in the north to Sicily in the south. The annual spectacle of falling stars is caused by the earth passing through the orbit of an old comet, the Swift-Tuttle.

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