Members' Write ups
Drove to Pilling Bird Sanctuary overlooking Morecambe Bay to observe the Perseids. Arrived with a colleague, Mick Allen in tow, shortly before 20:00UT and set up my WO Megrez 90ED with 40mm x 70º Rodenstock, 15 x 4º.5 fov. Joined shortly afterwards by Terry Devon & Ray Smith, Pete Franklin & Alison, Paul Schofield, Claire, Tracey & Richard. Terry brought the Revelation 25x105 binoculars, and Pete his 8-inch Meade Schmidt-Newtonian.
Sky conditions were intermittent cumulous cloud, cover varying from 4 octas at sunset to almost 8 octas at 23:00UT, then clearing, leaving clear skies from 00:00UT thru' 02:00UT on the 13th. It was New Moon and the zenith limiting magnitude I would put @ +6mv, the Milky Way being visible easily through Perseus, Cassiopeia, Cygnus, Vulpecula, Aquila, and towards Scutum.
Began session with Jupiter in twilight, three of its satellites on the west (Io, Europa and Ganymede) and the other (Callisto) further out on the east. Using bino-viewer with glass path corrector, and 12mm Brandon Orthoscopics, could see the equatorial belts despite its lowly altitude and indifferent seeing conditions.
Next, once the sky had darkened took a look at H & Chi Persei Double Cluster in Perseus, M31 & M32 in Andromeda, then the Dumbell nebula M27 in Vulpecula, & Globular Clusters M15 in Pegasus and M13 & M92 in Hercules and then M33, the Pinwheel galaxy in Triangulum. By 00:00UT I could glimpse M33 with averted vision, one indication of a true mag6 sky. The Milky Way around H & Chi Persei was ablaze with literally thousands of faint stars as seen in both my Megrez 90 and the 25x105 binoculars.
I bagged my first Perseid in Ursa Minor just as the sky was darkening, and between 22:00UT & 00:00UT saw well over a dozen, some leaving trains for several seconds. Several were bright sporadics, some just as bright as the Perseids.
We commenced the official count at 00:00UT thru' 01:00UT, Paul Schofield acting as the "Ooh, Aah, Oh Wow," counter. We saw 34 in the first half hour and 34 in the second half hour, eight of which were sporadics, giving a rate of 60 per hour. The radiant zenith distance mid-count was approximately 45º, giving a correction factor of root 2, and 85ZHR.
Some of the brightest Perseids exceeded -4mv making them fireballs. One in particular going through the top right corner of the Square of Pegasus and on into Delphinus, reached -5mv and lit up the ground with its steely-blue light. It left a bifurcated train lasting well over 10 seconds. Two or three others not quite as brilliant followed closely similar trajectories and also left bifurcated trains. Their trains once formed immediately spread out width-ways, brighter on the outside than the middle, before fading. Some of the other brilliant meteors were observed through light cloud.
The Pleiades, Mars and the Hyades were then observed in rapid succession, as they rose in the north east.
We packed up at about 02:00UT after agreeing it was the best Perseid display we had seen for a long time, since 1973 in my case. Alison bagged the most judging by the "Ooh, aah, wowee, fantastic," frequency, and I for one think it safe to say this was one of BADAS's most successful and enjoyable Star Parties.
To say that we were not expecting to see much when Spock & I set off for Pilling we were highly delighted, especially with the turnout, when we arrived the ducks were laughing at us, but as the night went
on the skies were lovely and dark when the clouds decided to partially leave, revealing a lovely Milky Way.
I set up the 25X100 binoculars, it's the first chance we have had to use them at a star party, I missed a few good meteors whilst locating some of the objects in them, (I uttered things like'oh deary deary me I have missed another one, never mind'), the laser pens were excellent for pointing out some of the objects for beginners,(mind those aircraft).
Then the skies cleared at 00.00(ish) there were many oohs & ahhs as the shower progressed, Alison must have seen just about every one, I don't think she missed a thing as she was in a horizontal position.. your honour.
We also made friends with some other people who turned up to observe the shower, I showed them M31,M33, the double cluster in Perseus in the binoculars, the car park seemed to be nearly full! Marvellous!!
Thank you all for a good and memorable night.
That was brilliant - I've never even seen a meteor before. Can't believe the cloud cleared again - wish i'd stayed now.
When's the next one is all I can say?!
Even though we missed the star party (attending a wedding reception),
Doreen and I had planned to observe from the house and arrived home
about 23:30 to a partially cloudy sky. With sun beds, blankets, a brew
and binoculars, we settled in. At around 00:30 and several small
meteors later (seen through holes in the cloud cover) the skies
cleared. At 03:05 after quite a good number of clear spells the sky
totally clouded over and it stated to rain (time for bed said
Zebedee). In all we observed 26 meteors including 4 extremely bright
ones (brighter than Vega) one leaving a trail for a good 4 seconds.
The skies seemed remarkably clear last night and we could see for the first time in many years the Milky Way from Preston. I woke at 03:40 (don't know why) and decided to have a look out the window; I opened the blinds to a perfectly clear sky, and in the space of about 3 minuets saw another 4 meteors (including one very bright sporadic).
Having had enough excitement for one night, I went back to bed.