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 …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    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?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It will be

      See title

    2. Alan Fitzsimmons
      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.

    3. Mad Frankie
      Thumb Up

      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.

    4. Annihilator Silver badge

      Dear Jim

      You misspelt "Jim"

  2. Annihilator Silver badge
    Troll

    Up a peak without a paddle

    "Avila"

    It's Ávila ain't it?..

  3. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  4. Peter Kay

    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.

    1. Andrew Oakley
      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/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        Technically

        The ISS is a satellite.

        Just sayin'

      2. R Callan
        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.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    white line on black background

    zebra more entertaining, they can dance

  6. John Robson Silver badge
    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.

  7. Mal Franks
    Unhappy

    any breaks in clouds...

    just uncovered clouds at higher altitudes

  8. sandman

    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!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    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.

  10. John Miles 1

    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.

  11. Andrew Bush

    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 :(

  12. Paul 25
    Thumb Up

    @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

  13. Dave Evans 1
    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

  14. Stanislaw
    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?

  15. 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.

    1. Modjo30
      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

    2. 2FishInATank
      Coat

      Wait...what?

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

      Well played sir, well played!

      1. 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!

  16. Rafael 1
    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.

  17. envmod
    Alien

    fuckin' meteors...

    how do they work??

  18. Rob
    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).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    The chances of anything...

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

    AC because I for one welcome, etc

  20. Jan 0
    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.

  21. peter 5 Silver badge

    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.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

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

  23. Geoff Campbell
    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

    1. Anomalous Cowturd
      Thumb Up

      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...

  24. Shakje
    Thumb Down

    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.

  25. Chris Miller

    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.

  26. scruffygit

    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 :-).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  27. gaz 7
    Thumb Down

    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!

  28. Andrew Jones

    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.

  29. I_am_Chris
    Thumb Up

    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 ;)

  30. Arclight

    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 :)

    1. ravenviz
      Heart

      re: Out in Grimsby

      Aw!

  31. AlistairJ
    Thumb Up

    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.

  32. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    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.

  33. TkH11

    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!

  34. Ron Eve
    Coat

    @Out in Grimsby

    Blimey! Since when did Grimsby have Romantics living there?

    I think we should be told!

    /foil coat

  35. Tim Weigel
    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.

  36. Pisnaz
    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.

  37. Ned Ludd
    Thumb Down

    Photo...

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

  38. J 3
    Alien

    OK

    Here in VA, USA it was quite humid and cloudy, but fortunately most of the night was clear (until 3 am when the thick clouds and fog closed in and sent me back home. Condensation on the lenses and other stuff was brutal though, and several photos got a "dreamy look" that I'd rather not have. Not lucky with the photos -- saw several nice ones (manyl of them were not Perseids), but my camera was always doing an exposure AWAY from that at the time. Damn it. Only got a very faint one in a photo, over about 5 hours out there (a more lucky friend caught two). Saw at least two or three strong ones though, and some folks who were there in the woods for about the same time as me counted about 140 total.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Damn the weather

    Am I ever going to see this legendary flock of winged horses ?

  40. Jeremy 2
    Thumb Up

    A few...

    Spent half an hour flat on my back on the roof... Climbing ladders in the dark, middle of the night and after a few ciders probably wasn't all that bright of me but it seemed like the best place :)

    Clear skies, warm (nay, hot) temperatures in suburban Atlanta made it a little more comfortable than previous damp Perseid sighting endeavours in Britain :)

    Quite a bit of light pollution so I guess I only saw the brightest, certainly didn't see many but it's always a good sight when you do...

  41. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    To my surprise

    It was a completely clear sky in Kent between midnight and 1am. As I was parked in a layby along a tiny road with narry a light or cloud in sight, I saw lots of the little buggers, but unfortunately, no really dramatic ones.

  42. manky
    Badgers

    In Norway

    Getting pissed around a BBQ in the forests up in the middle of Norway - looked up when the conversation came round to the Perseids and immediately saw two massive streaks across the sky!!

    Watched from the comfort of my reclining Thermarest chair and saw loads more until the clouds came.

    Awesome! Never seen anything like that before!!

  43. Ketlan
    Pint

    Blimey.

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

    Here in very-damp Lancaster (at around 3.30am) I managed to spot five Percy's and a hedgehog in my garden. FROM my garden. A hedgehog IN my garden and a bunch of five Percy's observed doing their thing over about fifteen minutes FROM my garden.

    Bloody chilly, though. Thank God I was pissed.

    The hedgehog seemed to enjoy the display, too. :-)

  44. heyrick Silver badge
    Happy

    Brittany calling

    Dry, clear, reasonable show. I wished upon a shooting star, then another, then another... eventually running out of things to wish for.

    It still counts if you go out in the middle of a meteor shower, right?

  45. PT

    Probably not a Perseid..

    I saw a good one Tuesday, a few days ahead of schedule. It was traveling north to south, nearly horizontal, with a fat silver spark trail that covered about 30 degrees of sky. I figure it probably wasn't a meteor, since I didn't see anything like it last night. Probably one of those new-fangled satellite-killing satellites that were in the news recently coming back in from a polar orbit. Or perhaps it was a victim.

  46. gimbal
    Coat

    Was going to try to catch a glimpse of any remnants, tonight - weather fail

    ...not being sure how large the Swift Tuttle debris cloud may be, in relation to the revolution of the earth, along the ecliptic, but being hopeful about it...

    To get a clear view, from where I'm at, I'd set out on a trail at one of the local lakes. The state parks dept has set up a scenic-vista platform, on one of the hilltops along the trail. It seemed that it might make for a decent vantage point, not accounting for the light pollution from the habitations and businesses of the city at the lake.

    I got about a mile down the trail, when the clouds rolled in, with accompanying thunder and lightning. It hasn't let loose much rain, so far, but it may as well.

    Oh the joys of apparently living under the jesttream.

    Mine's the one with the built-in hydration system.

  47. StuBird
    Thumb Up

    WELL....

    Sorry to be a pain, but here at Portland in Dorset, we had clear skies, Milky Way was very visible overhead right to the horizon once the night vision kicked in, a great show of some very bright long lasting meteors overhead, sat in the deck chairs for a couple of hours...... sadly no photos, a little too inebriat.....innebdriad.....drunk at the time..!!!

  48. David Pickering
    Thumb Up

    yay

    i saw some!

  49. bugalugs
    Pint

    damn...

    15.4 mm of rain over 12-13th here in southern oz boondocks. we made tiny little paper planes, set fire to them and threw them about under the carport and thought about PARIS.

    got pissed. went to bed. same as last year. sigh...

    beer 'cos that's all there was.

  50. cavac
    Thumb Up

    Got two on photo...

    ...probably some more. I still have to go through about 2000 images. Does anyone know an open source software for meteor detection in photos?

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=13817&id=100000892850346&l=6469c9b67e

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