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I'll be camping at a dark sky site - and there shouldn't be much Moon that night! Just pray it's clear!

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From memory, I was imaging the Pacman Nebula last year whilst the Perseids were at their peak. Once I got the setup collecting photons, I kicked back and watched them. Nice evening :).

Tony..

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I'll be attending my local astro society's "bar b and perseid meteor watch". We go up on to the nearby hills for the bar-b then drive right up to the top for viewing. I remember the 2006 shower which was near new moon and the milky way just blew me away. We counted 100 meteors in just under 2 hours. A lot of fun was had and there were plenty of reclining chairs, blankets and thermos flasks about with lots of communial oooh's and aaaaah's as the sky show unveiled :-) Now thats what this hobby is all about, its 10 times better shared!

Matt

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I'll be attending my local astro society's "bar b and perseid meteor watch". We go up on to the nearby hills for the bar-b then drive right up to the top for viewing. I remember the 2006 shower which was near new moon and the milky way just blew me away. We counted 100 meteors in just under 2 hours. A lot of fun was had and there were plenty of reclining chairs, blankets and thermos flasks about with lots of communial oooh's and aaaaah's as the sky show unveiled :-) Now thats what this hobby is all about, its 10 times better shared!

Matt

That sounds wonderful. :)

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There's definitely something alluring about the promise of a meteor shower. I'm very new to all this, and when my friends heard about the telescope they were all a bit puzzled. However, the mention of meteors and suddenly they are all interested - so much so I decided to hold a Meteor Party on the 12th!

We have a great dark site scouted out, and thanks to Amanda I'm now in the process of organising the bits and pieces we'll need.

I can't wait - let's all just keep our fingers crossed for a clear night!

Cheers,

Adrian

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Don't forget about the earthgrazers, everyone! :) Higher latitude will give you a bit more darkness before moonrise interferes, but it's worth a try. Earthgrazers shoot up from the radiant just as it's rising. There's not a lot of them, maybe a few an hour at best, but it's something you'll never forget. They go slower than the peak meteors, which means you don't have to worry about missing one if you blink. :)

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My sister and I are taking the sun loungers out the back garden tonight in the hope of spotting a few meteors. We've bought some nibbles to put in the oven for the evening too :) meteor parties + food = best type of meteor parties.

Carol, the earthgrazers sound amazing. Very excited for tonight, hopefully there'll be a few more clear nights around the peak.

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Good luck for the Brace S5... I couldn't afford the 12th so use to go on the Slightly less glorious 13th...

Peter...

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My sister and I are taking the sun loungers out the back garden tonight in the hope of spotting a few meteors. We've bought some nibbles to put in the oven for the evening too :D meteor parties + food = best type of meteor parties.

Carol, the earthgrazers sound amazing. Very excited for tonight, hopefully there'll be a few more clear nights around the peak.

its clear where im tonight :p so im going to try my first attempt at some widefield stuff :):):eek:

long range forcast looks good for the 12th !

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So far, nothing but clouds and rain. Today the remnant low of typhoon Goni is imposing itself more and more, so I very much doubt there will be any light shows over this part of the world tonight. Also, I am expecting to be rather busy, so I guess that puts paid to it for me.........

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Great to see so many getting excited over the Perseids this year. The Moon will be a problem and affect the number of meteors seen unfortunately, but it's still worth giving it a go. The ZHR rate can be a bit misleading because it's a normalised rate which assumes perfect conditions, your ability to see the entire sky in one go and the radiant at the zenith. As none of these conditions will be met over the course of the shower, the rates seen will be lower than the predicted ZHR. How much lower is complicated because the equation for working out a ZHR depends on a number of factors that change throughout the night. The most significant is the height of the radiant which fortunately is increasing as dawn approaches.

In fact the radiant does almost make it to the zenith as the sky is starting to get lighter but the Moon is also coming up to it's highest point in the sky at this time which won't help matters.

The best time to view meteors is after midnight UT because before this time the meteors have to catch up with Earth and their brightness threshold is lower than after midnight when they hit us head on.

For this shower, the balance of moonlight vs rate is going to be complicated. The shower will be best seen from midnight on the 11th through to dawn on the 12th and all night on the 12th through to dawn on the 13th. The before midnight lower visibility factor on the night of the 12th is complicated because the rates will be higher then and the Moon out of the way.

The bright Moon will basically filter out the fainter meteors meaning that the ones you'll only get to see the bright ones. These are fantastic to watch but in rate terms there will be fewer of them. A minimum watch length should be about 30 minutes. it's no good popping your head outside, looking up and expecting to see the sky filled with meteors. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that (well in really rare circumstances it does and I'll be really happy to be wrong this time around! :) ).

Like normal stargazing, dark adaption is important as this will allow you to see fainter meteors. For this reason, it's a good idea to position yourself somewhere where you can't see the Moon. Staring at it's loveliness in the sky is fantastic but it won't do much for your night vision!

You can see meteors close to the radiant but these will tend to be short. Ones that are exactly on the radiant are called pin-point meteors. If you see a really bright pin-point fireball the best advice is to duck :)

The further away from the radiant you look, the longer the meteors will appear. About 40-60 degrees away from the radiant is about ideal. It's a good idea to give yourself a nice clear area (don't put a big tree or house in your field of view!) and stick with it. If you see a bright one come down out of the corner of your eye, then resist changing your area to centre on that part of the sky. Meteor watching is statistical game and it pays to stick to your guns!

The Perseids aren't the only shower active at this time of year and the other will also make a contribution to the number of meteors seen.

When you see a meteor streak across the sky, that's called a meteor trail. It's basically a streak of light caused by atoms on the leading edge of the particle, normally the size of a grain of sand, vapourising off the surface of the particle and interacting with the atoms in our atmosphere. The 'smoke trail' that you can often see after a bright meteor has occurred is an ionisation tube, glowing gently as the excited atoms within it slowly give off energy as light. These can be affected by upper atmosphere winds and appear to distort. The correct name for this phenomenon is a meteor train.

You can determine whether a meteor is a Perseid by checking a few things about its trail.

1) Does it come from the direction of the radiant?

A meteor radiant isn't a fixed point in the sky and actually appears to move slowly from one night to the next. On the nights surrounding the maximum, the radiant lies close to the 5th magnitude star just to the east of Eta Persei. You can find Eta Per by extending the middle star in the "W" of cassiopeia through the next one to it's left (thinking of the "W" the right way up) and extending that line for about 3.5x the distance again. The faint star I described is just to the east or left of Eta. Use a ruler or a piece of string and hold it up against where you saw the meteor trail. If it went through the radiant it might have been a Perseid.

2) How long was it?

If the trail was close to the Perseid radiant but long, then the chances are it doesn't belong to the shower and the line-up is just a chance one.

3) How fast was it?

It is possible to determine whether meteors belong to a particular shower by measuring their speed in the sky. This can get a bit complicated but the Perseids are sort of middling in terms of speed, entering the atmosphere at 39 miles per second. The Leonids (November) are the fastest at 45 miles per second and appear very swift, while showers like the Taurids (November) are real plodders at 19 miles per second.

Blimey, this has turned into something of an essay so I'll stop now. Enjoy the meteors!!

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Nice read Pete... loads of useful info.. :)

Lets hope the weather plays ball soemtime over the next few nights not looking too good here according to the forecast ... :)

Peter...

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Thank you for that Pete, that was really interesting reading. I now feel fully informed! Just gonna go out tonight with a view of enjoying the night sky but will position myself out of the Moon's glare in the vain hope of catching a Perseid :)

Thanks again, really enjoyed that and really helpful :)

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Lovely and sunny at the moment just don't look at the Anims on Sat24.... i did an now want a drink... in fact several :)

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A certain Norfolk idjit forgot all about these... and tomorrow's the big day (or night) so I only just remembered in time! Should get the camera set up really... might just relax with a cup of tea though!

Arthur

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Thanks for the helpful info, Pete! It's going to be clear here tonight and tomorrow. :)

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Bit to far for me to travel at such short notice though Carol... but I bet you'll get some spectacular views ... hope you do anyway....and can tell us all about it in your exquisite style...

Peter...

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What's the general direction of these little blighters? If I'm sitting out in the garden looking due south where will I see most of em, due south, overhead, east, west or north?

Regards

Keithp

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Bit of an update guys!

Saw one Perseid meteor last night, about 22:35. It swept down the Summer triangle, towards Altair. It was sort of near Sagitta. Amazing! I know it's only one, but it's better than the other night when I didn't see any!

Really disappointed it is going to be cloud tonight, and tomorrow but at least now I can say I have seen a Perseid!

Also saw the 22:15 iridium flare, very bright, I'd say mag -8!

and 13 sats!

Edited by ashenlight

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I'm a happy camper.. saw an earthgrazer, 9 regular meteors, 4 satellites, Io's shadow transit, the GRS, and some very good views of the Valentine Dome and Snail Mountain on the Moon. :)

The earthgrazer stretched out 4 splayed hand widths above the eastern horizon. It was reddish orange and left a short lived but beautiful golden Tinkerbelle glitter trail behind it. Regular meteors: 2 in CYG, 2 in CEP, 1 in CAS, 2 in CAM, and two sporadics very early in the evening which cut through OPH as they went south.

Have to admit, i wasn't too enthused about lying on the lounge chair getting soaked by the dew, so when Luna cleared the Wild Cherry tree to the east, i sat under the patio umbrella (to stay dry) and enjoyed some well-needed lunar observing. :)

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