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back to article Perseid meteors 'thrill star-gazers'

Last night's Perseid meteor shower wasn't quite the heavenly firework display the Daily Mail claims, but where conditions were favourable, hopeful skygazers were granted a few nice moments. El Reg's Iberian bureau took advantage of clear skies and agreeable temperatures to crack a few beers up in the mountains of Avila, and was …

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Troll

Up a peak without a paddle

"Avila"

It's Ávila ain't it?..

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Gates Halo

Dear God

Can you fix it for me for the meteor shower to be on a Friday next year so I can enjoy it too?

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Anonymous Coward

It will be

See title

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Jobs Halo

OK!

There done - next year 12th August will be on a Friday, allowing you to watch this annual event in peace. Now can you all PLEASE leave off the praying already? I'm still trying to catch up on the last season of Lost.

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Agreed

God has agreed it will be on a Friday next year. Tip for then - even if you bring a spare jumper, bring a spare jumper.

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Dear Jim

You misspelt "Jim"

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Happy

Well, for me....

It pissed it down for most of the night. but...

When I noticed that the rain had stopped at about 23:30 I poked my head out the window, just on the off chance of seing someting and to my amazement, the clouds parted revealing a black sky. I then saw the most incredible display of meteors that I have ever seen, the sky was filled just for a few seconds with bright streaks. Some of them lasting a few seconds leaving thick trails behind them. Some of them breaking up multiple times as they burned in the atmosphere. It was breathtaking. Then the coulds closed in again. Oh no..... wait a minute, that was what I wanted to happen. Ah yes, I remember now... What really happened was that I poked my head out of the window and looked up to see featureless, thick, orange cloud. Yes, that was it.

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Bah..

I was up at 3am for various reasons not connected with the Perseids and decided to look for meteors. It was quite a clear light, but there was a lot of light pollution.

Result : no definite meteors (possibly a couple out of the corner of my eye), but one satellite seen.

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Alien

3:16am Fri 13 Aug = International Space Station

If you were up at 3am decided to look skywards, then quite probably what you saw wasn't a satellite but the International Space Station.

Next visible tonight at 3:42 and 5:15am.

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/

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Headmaster

Technically

The ISS is a satellite.

Just sayin'

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WTF?

ISS times

And those times are valid for where?

El Reg is a Pommy site so they are GMT (BST?) times, or as NASA is a US organisation they are one of how many US times? Of course, I'm a Kiwi resident Pom so perhaps they refer to GMT-12 hours.

Confused? So was I.

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Anonymous Coward

white line on black background

zebra more entertaining, they can dance

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Boffin

Rain stopped, cloud cleared ...

... and we saw a good number last night, didn't stand out too long as I'd assumed cloud cover and didn't have a sun lounger available.

A couple of beautiful sights of pieces of Swift-Tuttle, loads of satellites, a couple of planes and some ghostly seagulls as well...

Didn't see any non Perseids though, even though that's always a fun possibility.

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Unhappy

any breaks in clouds...

just uncovered clouds at higher altitudes

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Not bad

Here in Surrey the show wasn't bad - five in as many minutes around 11 pm and that's with a fairly narrow viewing slot thanks to all the light pollution. The only problem is that looking virtually straight up gives you a heck of a sore neck!

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Clearish

Was fairly clear in Oxfordshire at around midnight after the torrential rain beforehand. Saw 11 Perseids, 1 sporadic meteor and the Lacrosse 3 spy satellite in the space of about 30 minutes. So not too bad at all for the UK.

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Pretty good from here

Clouds cleared after about 9.30 so sat in my back garden at 10.30 (in South East of England) and got a pretty good display - a small meteor every 2-3 minutes and every 10 mins or so a cracker with a 'sparkling' trail. Not spectacular, but memorable.

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Good show near Bath

I'm just outside of Bath and the 'spectacle' was considerably better than last year, thankfully the light pollution is very low here. A reasonable quantity of long thick streaks with good persistence. Unfortunately, based on last year's showing my 9 year old son didn't consider it worth bothering to brave the cold, so he missed out.

Granted, it's not exactly Day of The Triffids but it's as good as it gets, I suppose. Better than the non-event Northern Lights a week or two back, more like northern headlights from the odd passing car :(

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Stu
FAIL

skies were clear!

Skies were mostly clear where I was!

<--- me fail

Still, I set my Nikon D90 to a 30 second exposure at a wide angle (10mm), and kept snapping away, all I got was one 'eventful' photo - can only be described as a sky 'anomaly', a meteor I'm sure, but it has a very short trail, as if the lump was heading directly towards me, plus it burst into flames and died out too quickly, producing a blob, no trail to speak of.

Thats the best result out of about 100 shots, yes I was there for about 50 mins! This was in the city, there was plenty of light pollution - I couldn't be arsed to drive out the city and stand around in a field with all the rapists and murderers ;-) instead shot them from a bedroom window.

From what I could figure out, I could only see the most pyrotechnic of shooting stars in the city light, and I'm not sure the camera was on the right settings to capture them, and I think I only saw one or two over the entire 50 mins anyways.

What is it? high ISO, wide aperture, thousands of short exposures, or should it be long exposures, low ISO, wide aperture? The D90 is crap for taking continual shots, without buying an intervalometer that is.

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Stop

Re: Skies were clear!

D90 if fine for taking continual shots, i have my shutter set to bulb and i leave the shutter open for about 55 seconds, i use my £15 remote to open and close the shutter, i would have iso at 400 simply because most of the meteors won't be very bright so it can be had to capture the light from them

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Coat

Wait...what?

Instead of looking for meteors, you were shooting rapists and murderers from a bedroom window?

Well played sir, well played!

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Stu

Yup!

@2FishInATank: Indeedy, Just call me the heroic vigilante, on account of my poor grasp on the English language! ;-)

@Modjo30: I tried for a little while on Bulb mode, yes, I bought a cheapy chinese ML-L3 knock-off and set the camera down on the windowsill with some floppy disks propping the angle up high, using a crappy wide angle Tamiya lens to capture from a quarter to a third of the nights sky I think. I tried 3 mins bulb mode once at lowest ISO, still no results for about 5 mins continual manual shooting. There's a careful balance to strike to stop the image whiting out.

But I suspect that you get better more sensitive shots if you ramp up the ISO and shorten the shutter speed, then take lots of shots. I just can't be arsed to keep snapping every 5 seconds or so! Time to get a cheap Intervalometer!

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@AC

There will still be meteors this evening.

Last night was the peak of the shower, but it lasts for several days. Tonight won't be quite as good as last night but if you can find somewhere dark then you should still see something, assuming the weather is ok.

If anyone is in Bath this evening there is a star/meteor spotting evening in Victoria Park, starts at 9pm outside No 1 The Royal Crescent. I think there will be some astronomers and possibly some telescopes (I think), although I'll probably take my binoculars with me. Details at http://www.bptlearning.org.uk/index.php?cat=6

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Unhappy

Damp squib

Not a good night for Perseid-watching here in the North West of Engerland last night.

Quite a few of us were under water.

How does one apply to work at El Reg's Iberian bureau?

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Happy

Looked good in South West London

We ended up with fantastic (un-forecast) clear skies. I stuck my head out of the window about midnight and saw 3 cracking ones in the space of 5 mins.

Sorry to bring a bummer with some positive news on this. {;¬)

Big D

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Heart

I salute you...

... for not putting several long exposure photos and calling them "meteors" as the Daily Mail (and Folha de São Paulo: http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ciencia/782325-chuva-de-meteoros-da-espetaculo-no-hemisferio-norte-veja-fotos.shtml) did.

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Alien

The chances of anything...

Green flashes and meteors spotted over Surrey: Martians or Triffids?

AC because I for one welcome, etc

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Alien

fuckin' meteors...

how do they work??

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Rob
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FAIL

Bucking the trend...

... we had a loverly clear sky lastnight and there were some great opportunities to see the Perseid meteors, unfortunately I feel asleep and missed the lot :(

FAIL for me.

(Since when did staying up till half 12 become an issue, what's this flippin 'getting older' malarky all about).

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Very limited success.

I saw a couple at ~12.30am, despite heavy clouds to the east, and Perseus being only just above the trees; then the clouds moved in. Last year was better, despite the moon.

http://www.imo.net/live/perseids2010/ has just one UK hit: an observer at Glenarm Glen managed five minutes but saw 7 meteors.

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FAIL

Shower?

I don't know how dark the sky is over Avila, but if I lie on my back when I've got a clear dark sky, whether it's up in the Pyrenees or a Norfolk beach, then I see about one meteor a minute.

Of course that's just the mundane ones, it takes quite a while before a bright one turns up. So two a minute sounds pretty poor unless you only count the bright ones.

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

Avoid cricks in neck; lie face up on lawn, preferably with bottle of favourite alcoholic drink in hand for sustenance.

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perils of stargazing

Went out into the local park at about 11:30 last night, as it's the only place with minimal lighting

(apart from the streetlights on the horizon). Saw three shooting stars, and was then accosted by a bloke who wanted to know if this was my first time stargazing, and did I want a shot of his whisky?

Retreated with honour intact, but made a mental note to bring a big intimidating maglite next time :-).

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Anonymous Coward

Lucky for you

that you weren't in sight of Stu's bedroom window, or you may have had a shot of something else.

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Clear skies in Bucks

before midnight, anyway. There was a serious fireball around 23:00 - bright enough to leave an afterimage, which I've not experienced before.

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FAIL

Well, I was in Wales

Which is traditionally cloudy and often rainy around this time of year. However, at the required time, after getting outside of two bottles of a very nice Rioja and one of a rather less nice but still eminently quaffable Merlot, I was too tired and emotional to be able to tell if the sky was cloudy or clear, or indeed remember my own name, so I went to bed.

GJC

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That's the way to do it!

I too was a little tired last night, and only remembered the Perseid shower when I was in bed. I couldn't be arsed to get up and drive out of town to see it.

Got young 'un tonight, so we may pop out for an hour for a look see...

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So yes...

after a week or so of clear skies, at about 2pm yesterday the worst clouds this year started forming. I had an ambitious peek every fifteen minutes or so after 11 but was greeted with a pretty awesome grey.

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North East England

Up here on tyneside, it was a lovely mostly cloudless day, and I was slightly excited, until the rain clouds rolled in right on cue, just as the sun went down, and didn't see a bloody thing. The rain was rattling down as well by midnight. Think the Dog felt lucky to get out of a midnight walk along the beach like!

I have seen the odd meteor now and again, and qould like to catch this, but typically it always seems to be cloudy!

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No luck for me

Two kilometres up on the French-Italian border at 3am.

Thick impenetrable cloud pouring over the col from Italy like something from a Stephen King novel. Big goose bumps. Next time I'll being a spare spare spare spare jumper.

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Good showing in Eastern Scotland

We had clear skies from 11pm until midnight and saw a good bunch of really bright meteors. Well worth staying up a little later than normal for.

Thanks Perseid ;)

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Out in Grimsby

Reasonable clear skies, and saw quite a few meteorites. Spent an hour outside while on my phone to my girlfriend in mid-Wales, who was also enjoying relatively clear skies. But she had to put up with me singing:

"And even though I know how very far apart we are

It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star

And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby

It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky"

down the phone :)

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Heart

re: Out in Grimsby

Aw!

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Meteor? Certainly will.

Regularly see meteors along with satellites and other celestial bodies out here in the west. Just gotta look up and be patient.

Nice to see Andromeda in the binos now I know where to look for it.

Best to see meteors after midnight, because then the side of the Earth you are on is heading into the particle field so collision energies are higher.

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Happy

I was impressed

Wispy clouds but some very clear patches north of London when I popped out for ten minutes around midnight to do my staring skywards. I saw a fair few superb streaks in that time and a couple of blips. It was a good score for the time spent and better than last year.

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Yes!!

South East, near Reading: I saw 3 over 40 minutes. First was a "f**k me" moment, very impressive. Second was a faint dot without a trail And third had a trail but not as impressive as the first.

Light pollution was very high: 15 metres away were orange street lights, but lay down on a park bench, look upwards and use the bench to shield eyes from street light. Meteors were clearly visible, when they occurred!

Next year, will think about heading in to the country side proper, away from the towns and set the camera up, and stay up all night!

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Coat

@Out in Grimsby

Blimey! Since when did Grimsby have Romantics living there?

I think we should be told!

/foil coat

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Go

Good viewing from Colorado

I was pleasantly surprised that we had clear skies here in Colorado last night (at least, in the part of Colorado I call home) after several nights of thunderstorms, so my two older kids and I drove out east onto the plains (about 48 miles/77 km to get far enough away from the lights of even the smaller towns) to our usual observing spot for a last hurrah before school starts back up. One nice thing about having ready access to the Great Plains in North America is that you can comparatively easily get out to where it gets seriously dark, and the Rockies no longer obscure the western horizon. The comparatively high altitude helps as well.

It was a bit humid, so there was light haze, but it was still easy to make out the Milky Way. I figure we had between 40 - 50 per hour, some leaving impressive trails. Jupiter was also in fine form in the southeast. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay out as late as we'd have liked - got back in at about 2 AM.

I'm quite pleased that next year's Perseids will be on a Friday, because I'm now very tired and depending on a coffee IV drip to get through the day at work. Still it was worth it both for the meteor shower itself, as well as doing something fun and educational with the kids. Weather permitting, we'll probably head up into the mountains next year for the show.

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Badgers

Canada reporting

Got a nice break in the clouds for 3 hrs or so around 2am over here in Eastern Ontario, Canada. I took in around 35 in the span of 1.5 hrs. Naturally the camera was either taking a photo in another part of the sky or had just taken a pic and was in busy mode as they came down. It was not as impressive as they claimed it should be, though I still had some light pollution and may of missed a number. I can recall better years. All in all not bad, and I caught 2 planes that can fool some unknowing types if need.

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Photo...

Why sit out in the cold, getting a sore neck waiting for a photo that could be 'shopped in 30 seconds?

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