July 30, 2023 | by Vivian Hurley |
In the northern hemisphere, the August Perseid meteor showers tend to be the favorite of all the annual meteor showers. The Perseid meteor showers come from streams of debris left behind in space as Earth crosses the orbital path of the Comet Swift-Tuttle, the parent of the Perseid meteor shower.
The Perseid Meteor showers are always one of the best to observe, with a high number of meteors per hour at its peak! They began around July 14 and will culminate August 11-13, so you still have a bit of time to prepare for the real show! This year, the Moon will only be at around 10% illumination during the peak, so given clear skies, we should have incredible conditions to see those meteors!
If you want to have the best viewing chances, make sure to look between the constellations Cassiopeia and Perseus where the Perseid radiant is located. The radiant is the portion of the sky where most of the meteors emerge from.
In the following very condensed version of Ancient Greek Mythology, Perseus was the son of the God Zeus and the mortal Danae.
Perseus was one of the greatest and oldest heroes of Greek mythology. He famously slew the dreaded gorgon Medusa, whose awful gaze could turn men to stone. Gorgons were terrible creatures to behold with their claws, wings, and a multitude of snakes for hair! Using his divine sickle, Perseus severed the neck of Medusa from which Pegasus, the winged horse, and his brother, Chyrsaor (he who has a golden sword) emerged.
Perseus swiftly followed up with the daring rescue of the princess Andromeda from a monstrous sea-creature sent by Poseidon to terrorize the kingdom of Ethiopia. Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, King and Queen of Ethiopia.
Falling in love with Andromeda at first sight, Perseus offered to deal with the monster if he could have the princess’ hand in marriage. By showing the head of Medusa with her still potent deathly stare, Perseus turned the sea-monster to stone.
Interesting to note is that Medusa had not always been a Gorgon. Instead, she had once been a beautiful maiden, seduced by Poseidon in the temple of Athena. However, this sacrilege attracted Athena’s wrath and she punished Medusa by turning her hair into snakes.
Reference: Ancient History Encyclopedia