The annual Perseid meteor lightshow will peak sometime tomorrow as Earth passes through the debris trail of comet Swift-Tuttle, but we're not taking any chances this year and are predicting total disappointment for those of you hoping to catch an eyeful. According to the BBC, the best times (not) to see the Perseids in the UK …
Not so disappointed
Saw a meteorite last night (morning of 10th Aug) from my home in Hampstead at around 2.00AM -- I was looking kinda North.
Pointless in Scotland
Just before dawn?!? Do you know what time that is up here?!? Are they mad?!?
"Nonetheless, the Vulture Central stargazers will as usual be cracking a beer in a dark spot somewhere on planet Earth"
I'm assuming Basement Bars count as a "dark spot", hence the disappointment at not seeing much (in the sky) ;)
clouds more likely to be troublesome
over here in the Netherlands as well
We'll have the beer nonetheless
20 years ago
20 odd years ago I saw the shower, and it was outstanding. Ever since then it has either been cloudy, or I've been out, or just forgotten. I have no reason to believe this year will be any different.
Dazzled with rain
In London? With light pollution and constant cloud cover (the BBC recons we will have "light showers", kind of like the ones that caused widespread flooding last year I guess) you are unlikely to even see the moon, let alone meteor.
Anyone in London seeing a meteor either needs to lay off the sauce or get down to Spec Savers.
Mine the one with "Sky at Night" in the pocket
Though way up north.
Apparently tonight is the best chance for those in Scotland though given the cloud coverage today, unless it clears then there's not going to be much of anything to see.
"one to tell your grandkids" meteor shower
Ah, that'll be the one where a meteor hits the weapons satellite setting off a dazzling celestial light show and we all wake up blind the next day. Then the giant walking plants kill us.
Meteors? meh! Iridium flares rock
Funny thing about the Persieds. The moon is either in its first or last quarter when these are on. Plus the light pollution that smothers almost all the populated parts of the UK - and then there's the cloud!
Much better to check out sunlight reflected off the Iridium satellites (known as "flares") which happen all year round, are predictable and brighter than 9 out of 10 (or 99 out of 100) meteors. Pop over to www.heavens-above,com, plug in your lat./long. and get a forecast for the next week.
The good thing is, you can drink just as much beer, lying back on the sun-lounger, waiting for the flare as you can waiting for a meteor that never comes.
Why leave it to chance?
Bugger a new toilet for the ISS, the Space Shuttle should be retasked once a year to take a few thousand kilograms of gravel up. Presto, one guaranteed (though admittedly expensive) meteor shower.
Normally when I get advance notice of meteor showers the clouds will gather steadly through the afternoon and evening to guarantee that there's no chance of me seeing anything.
Cue the Lou and Peter Berryman song...
Too many-many-many-many meteors
(If you like funny/strange songs, and you've not encountered Lou and Peter Berryman before, check them out. It's like pairing Fred Wedlock with Victoria Wood, and then feeding them both immense amounts of psychoactive drugs.)
Problem is, even if they're correct and we get "dozens of meteors per hour" that could mean they're showing up at a rate of one every two minutes or so. Which means two minutes of wasted time staring at the sky, followed by a few seconds of looking in the wrong direction, missing a given meteor completely.
Spectacular if you're a primitive being that regards the stars with a mixture of suspicion and reverence, unbearably boring if you're used to sci-fi blockbuster film special effects.
...Looking forward to AMFM's comments on this one.
PH because she's also an over-hyped celestial body.
Fools! You stand around gawping while tons of nickle-iron hurtle earthwards at thousands of miles per hour! You should be stockpiling food, water and medical supplies for the inevitable celestial bombardment and subsequent collapse of civilisation!
[Fihart] Did you pick it up? (Astrogeologist Joke Alert)
Actually I reckon it's the shower that includes at least one of about a mile in diameter........
Sod the visibility...
We can still bounce VHF signals off the trails the buggers leave :)
Early morning is best, and as I have to go to work....might be a case of Swine Flu
I'm off to bivvy on the side on Ben Lawers munro tomorrow night. Improving weather forecast over that part of Scotland, so I must be in a good position to see something.
Last year's was amazing
"... in the vain hope we might get the long-awaited "one to tell your grandkids" meteor shower. "
That was last year for me - the most spectacular shower I've ever seen, easily 2-3 a minute for hours on end. Helps being away from light pollution. The moon won't help this year though.
Chances are it was Iridium...
I have a 1965 edition of a Patrick Moore book on star gazing in which he notes that the Leonid meteor shower (circa Nov. 15 to 17) is "not now rich". A year later in 1966 it provided a spectacular display. It really is a matter of chance whether we hit the denser concentrations of grit. It is worth waiting up just in case. Witnesses to a true meteor storm with many meteors in the sky at once have described it as giving one a visceral feeling of moving through space. Hasn't happened for a long time, but if you slept through it you would kick yourself.
Some experts say you don't need any equipment to watch meteors. Certainly telescopes or binoculars are no help, but a deck chair or garden lounger is very useful for relieving neck strain, and dress warm.
what a show!
I remember think it was early 80's a great show started 10pm went on till sun rise, 20+ and hour as the night went on, more came per hour, great show took loads of people onto the hills to watch the shower, with chairs and blankets.
because we where 1000ft above sea level, some of the meteors seem to come at you then, dart away, some lasted what seemed few min's then slowly faded away.
some nice colour's too.
but since then i have lived in a large town its always been cloudy.
Managed to capture one fast, coloured trail at about 4.33am.
The green is from Magnesium components, the Yellow/Orange from Sodium
A good few visible last night
But I fear that the clouds that have rolled in will still be around tonight...
Cheers for the sense of perspective
The BBC trumpeted that this shower will "make the sky sparkle!" giving people who don't know any better a false expectation of something resembling a starfied screen saver :-(
Even under ideal conditions, the perseids peak at a zenith hourly rate of around 60. Thanks to the BBC, I'll be getting complaints from friends that it wasn't spectacular enough!
Quite good ... outside the UK
I was fortunate to be on holiday, staying near the top of a Greek hill, with clear (ish) skies (the odd cloud and some light interference from moon) and it was good to actually see a reasonable amount of meteors with relatively little time spent viewing .. whereas usually in the UK the combo of cloud and light pollution makes for a very poor experience even with long viewing stints.
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