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The Draconid meteor shower should be at its best late tonight. Bits of comet dust will burn up as they slam into the atmosphere, forming the streaks of light known as meteors. Unfortunately, though, the Moon will be in the way at the shower’s peak, so only a few meteors will shine through.
The shower gets its name from Draco, the dragon. All its meteors appear to “rain” into the sky from that direction.
Meteors sometimes survive their plunge through the atmosphere. On the ground, they become known as meteorites. Some of them are made of iron and nickel. For many cultures, these were a precious resource. And if the meteorite was actually seen to fall from the sky, then it held mystical qualities as well.
Some meteorites were made into knives, axes, and swords — perfect for killing dragons.
Egypt’s King Tutankhamen, for example, was buried with an iron knife made from a meteorite. And in ancient Rome, a meteorite was flattened to make a shield.
In 1621, a ruler in India had two swords and a dagger made from a meteorite. And in 1898, five swords were made from a single large meteorite found just a few years earlier. One of them was presented to the crown prince, Yoshihito, who later became emperor.
And in 1814, a British meteorite expert had a sword made for Alexander the First of Russia. It was intended to honor the emperor for his role in ending a war with France — giving him a truly cosmic reward.
Script by Damond Benningfield