The Perseids: a view from the Gutter

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As I expect you’ve all already heard, from various media outlets, the Perseids meteor shower was predicted to peak last night, with tens of meteors expected per hour. Well, this was the view from my window yesterday afternoon:

Not ideal for meteor viewing, especially given the frequent showers of rain. I wasn’t hopeful that things would improve, but a fellow astronomer and I went outside at 11:30pm anyway to have a look. After a lot of discussion about where to look (which included an extended period of doubting google sky map) we found the right direction – here is my attempt at depicting what we saw (with apologies to Sky & Telescope magazine):

Yep. the clouds had broken up but were annoyingly blocking the bit of sky with all the flaming rocks. Hmph. So I gave up and went to bed. My dad, further south than me, managed to see one before clouds came over there too. Lots of other people were having much better luck though, and gleefully reporting their sightings using the #meteorwatch hashtag on twitter.

The weather’s looking a lot more hopeful today and there should still be a lot of meteors to come. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for tonight. Failing that I can always just listen to them instead!



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