IATE Term of the week: Perseids

August 10, 2018 12:00 pm

Perseids is an astronomical phenomenon of a meteor shower appearing in August and radiating from a point in the constellation Perseus. You can see the Perseids every year – if the sky is clear and there is no light pollution – during the second week of August. This year the Perseids are visible during the weekend of the 11th and 12th of August. The constellation of Perseus is a constellation in the northern sky.

The name of Perseids take us back to Greek mythology and in particular to Perseus (/ˈpɜːrsiəs, -sjuːs/; Greek: Περσεύς). According to Paussanias (/pɔːˈseɪniəs/; Greek: Παυσανίας), Perseus was the founder of Mycenae. Furthermore, Perseus was the son of Zeus and Danaë. Legend has that Perseus built Mycenae in Tiryns (a Mycenaean archaeological site in Peloponnese [Ancient Greek: Τίρυνς; Modern Greek: Τίρυνθα]) and gave this name to the Greek city by chance.

There are two possible explanations for it. The first one is that his sword fell off its sheath while he was trying to drink some water. The ancient Greek word for sheath is myces (μύκης). The second one is that he found a fungus/mushroom, which in Greek is called μύκητας (mykitas) and as he was trying to pick it, he found a spring that later was named after him (Persean spring gr. Περσεία πηγή).

According to NASA, the Perseids are perhaps the most popular meteor shower of the year. During this weekend around 60-70 Perseids per hour will be expected.

Moreover, according to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke: “This year the moon will be near new moon, it will be a crescent, which means it will set before the Perseid show gets underway after midnight. The moon is very favourable for the Perseids this year, and that’ll make the Perseids probably the best shower of 2018 for people who want to go out and view it”.



Written by Ioannis Bersos, terminology trainee at TermCoord. Ioannis was born in 1992 in Thessaloniki, Greece. He studied German Language and Literature at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Translation at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. He has worked as an academic assistant at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. He participated in various academic projects within the university. He speaks Greek, German and English and he is passionate about photography. His master’s thesis was on the languages that refugees who came to Germany in 2016 and 2017 speak.

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