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The stream of debris is called the Perseid cloud and stretches along the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it travels on its 133-year orbit. Most of the particles have been part of the cloud for around a thousand years. However, there is also a relatively young filament of dust in the stream that was pulled off the comet in 1865, which can give an early mini-peak the day before the maximum shower. The earliest information on this meteor shower is found in Chinese annals in 36 AD.
However credit for recognising the shower's annual appearance is given to Adolphe Quetelet who reported in 1835 that there was a shower emanating from the constellation Perseus. Some Catholics refer to the Perseids as the "tears of St.