|It was said that Perseus, son of the Greek God Zeus, was a daring mythological Greek God-Prince best known for his victory over Medusa and as slayer of the Gorgon, and a warrior than could “rain fire” upon his enemies while in battle.
Perseus must be at war again - as he seems to be every August - when the annual Perseid meteor showers hits the Earth’s upper atmosphere often lighting up the night sky in the most spectacular meteor shower of the year.
On August 12, the Perseid meteors should begin their annual assault on Earth. These typically fast and bright meteors radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus, and, like all meteors in annual showers, they cover a large part of the sky.
The Perseids are considered by many people to be the year’s best shower when the moon is out of the way during the shower’s peak. Unfortunately, this year’s moon is not totally out of the way during the Perseids. The slightly waning gibbous moon rises around midnight – just as the Perseids start to pick up steam. Nonetheless, you should be able to catch some Perseid meteors before moonrise – and even after .
The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as midnight ebbs toward dawn. Although not a favorable year, these meteors are often bright and frequently leave persistent trains. What’s more, enhanced activity may be in the works, so perhaps enough brighter meteors can overcome the moonlit glare to make this year’s production worthwhile.
From late night on Tuesday, August 11 till dawn on Wednesday, August 12, a decent sprinkling of Perseid meteors may adorn this summer night, despite the pesky moon. Lie back and watch meteors until dawn’s light washes the stars, moon
and planets from the sky.
BEST VIEWS ACROSS TEXAS
The best viewing for Perseid shower will be in a location where there is little light, so escape the city lights and find a dark place in the country to get the best view.
IN THE VALLEY
You might consider heading out to the Bentsen State Park for a special Perseid viewing program. Park naturalists will host the viewing as you observe the brilliant peak of the late night showers. You can also ride on the open air tram to the hawk tower and observe the meteors as you listen to the naturalist who will tell you about the legend of
Perseus. There will also be a variety of other nocturnal activities for the whole family featuring the night skies and the park's wildlife. Enjoy UTPA’s mini planetarium as they give you an inside look at the sky. Join naturalists in the park for an owl prowl and interesting nighttime creatures. Or have fun listening to stories about creatures of
the night, or just relax and enjoy the evening with friends and family.
You can bet the night sky is at it's most clear in Far West Texas. We recommend checking into the Gage Hotel in Marathon and watch the showers from the patio deck.
Our vote goes to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area near Fredericksburg. The huge granite outcropping lends itself to a nightly sky-watching experience. While laying back on the rock might seem a little hard at first, the warm of the stone soon lulls you into a trance like comfort as you watch the shooting stars above.
Big Tree near Lamar gets the nod as the premium spot to catch a few shooting stars this summer. The 1,000-year old plus live oak has a great history to tell, and the night sky is great at this coastal hideout.
Consider a sunset cruise on the railroad at Palestine and take a berth in the rail station for a night view of Perseid. Actually, just about any state park offers great sky watching opportunities, but combining the historic railroad with the event adds a diminsion the family won't soon forget. All Aboard!
GRAPEVINE offrs so many great family-oriented attractions. There's the railroad, the historic downtown area, nearby Gaylord Texan Resort and more. You're just far enough away from the lights of the Metroplex that you can slip in some quality night sky viewing - perhaps from a boat on the lake?