Almost as good as the Dog Star!

By The General on August 14, 2017
  • Almost as good as the Dog Star!

    This is what the constellation of Pereus looks like, low in the north

The Boss reckons this meteor shower, the Perseids, are worth getting up for, one of the great light shows of the year.

He was reading John Lewis's column on the subject to me the other day and said we'd better get up early over the weekend and have a look-see.

He was treating me like I had no idea what he was talking about but, of course, I see this stuff all the time, while he's snoring his head off.

Anything a bit unusual in the night sky gets a dog's attention and I only have to cock an eyebrow to find out what's going on. So I can tell you all you need to know about it.

The first thing you need to do is find the Dog Star, of course. This is easy - its the brightest star in the universe and it's MY star - more or less. It's in Canis Major and it  will be pretty much over head after midnight. I might have blogged about this before.

In case you've forgotten, Canis Major is the hunting dog for Orion, the great hunter in Greek mythology, which is often called "the saucepan" in our part of the world - the handle of the saucepan is actually the knife hanging off Orion's belt. So there you go.

The thing is, if you look from my Dog Star, Sirius, over to Orion - and keep going in that direction, you'll end up at Perseus, further to the north-east or north, depending on when you get up. This is roughly where the meteor shower is coming from.

This is a map of the constellations looking down from the top, if you like - from south to north. So you're down underneath Canis Major, looking up, with Orion a bit to the north-east, then Taurus "The Bull," then Perseus. Easy, huh?

The Boss says Perseus was a fine monster-slayer among the Greek gods and won his stripes by cutting off the awful head of the Gorgon Medusa, whose hair was pretty much a mess of hideous snakes.

Apparently Medusa's gaze would turn everyone who looked at her to stone, so I guess Perseus had to avoid her gaze - just like I do when I've cleaned up a whole bag of chicken wings and The Boss is asking me hard questions.

Anyway, don't worry if you can't find Perseus - you'll see the meteor shower lighting up the sky, provided the weather plays ball. Could be a little cloudy and pretty cold too.

The Boss says we'll be getting out around 4.30-5am - much earlier than that and the waning moon will spoil the impact somewhat. But it will still be good. Woof!

By The General on August 14, 2017

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