Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm back—2008 Perseid report

August 12, 2008, 4:15am: Fog encroaches on Perseus.

I'm returning to the world of blogging with the story of my Perseid observations this morning.

Hoping for clear skies, I went out about 2:45am. I took my fairly new Lumix FZ18 camera along and took periodic 60 second exposures of random sky areas. None managed to capture any meteor trails.

The weather was clear, technically, in that there were no clouds, but the air itself was quite hazy—not nearly as crystal clear as it had been within the last day or two. The milky way, quite visible nearly under a nearby streetlight just a couple of days ago, was quite invisible, as were any stars fainter than about magnitude 3. But the temperature was in the comfortable mid-50s, so I stayed out, despite the dearth of meteors.

Then about 3:15 I saw four bright Perseids within about three minutes. Cool. Then a non-Perseid, equally bright, coming from somewhere around the zenith, arcing through Pegasus. That turned out to be the flurry of the night—five meteors in about five minutes.

The next hour or so I took photos, looked at the patches of sky visible between trees (actually quite a fair amount of the sky, in all) and watched the fog gradually appear, forming in the west and working it's way across the sky. In that hour I saw perhaps four more meteors, two of them bright. The temperature seemed to dip into the 50s. It was time to go back to bed.

Here's a guy who had even worse luck than me - one Perseid in a 2.5 hour exposure photo.

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