Friday, August 14, 2009

Perseids what a hype and what a bust

I've been watching meteors for years so I guess when the skies are clear, whether cold or warm, I will try, as I have done over the years despite the hype. The hype of the Perseid meteor shower, this year , was nerve racking.

It was clear over Kansas for the most part but the Moon was keeping many of the faint ones. I don't care about seeing the faint ones, all I look forward is a few bright ones to remember.
I only could compare this Perseid hype to Comet Kohoutek when much is expected but little if nothing is delivered. Not only were two maximum dates expected but the extra bombardment was supposed to happen either later evening and/or early morning. This was compounded by observers seeing a lot (which led me to believe what are they smoking anyway) or literally nothing (my case).
A human eye can see so much and when the hype media says 100- 200 meteors per hour these are expectations not realizations. You are not going to go out and see fireballs falling around you. If you are lucky you can see one or two bring ones or some every few minutes at the peak.
I gave it a go one more time.
In Olathe, KS (near Kansas City), the Moon was finally setting a little lower so that the sky was darker in the area of the NE and the constellatioin Perseus. It was far better than last years Full Moon but up until now seeing the meteors was still disconcerting. However supposedly there was to be another "spike". So instead of going to bed, I go out my sleeping bag and waited, again.

In an hour , with clear skies, all I saw was 8 Perseids. But all except one was pretty bright.
The best was a short yellow Perseid at zero magnitude (not quite a fireball) , that left a nice 0.75 train (smoke trail). There were 2 fireballs (yellow and yellow-white) at -2 that were 25 degrees long and pretty. So at least I saw something.

But an all sky camera can see much more over time. Ths spectacular photo shows dozens. There is on that stands out and I wish the author would have said more how bright this particular wide bright one was.
can't find it? use the archives and go to earlier date other then this one

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