Perseid meteor shower set to
Annual triumph of hope over experience
The annual Perseid meteor lightshow will peak sometime tomorrow as Earth passes through the debris trail of comet Swift-Tuttle, but we're not taking any chances this year and are predicting total disappointment for those of you hoping to catch an eyeful.
According to the BBC, the best times (not) to see the Perseids in the UK are "likely to be on the morning of 12 August before dawn and from late evening on the 12th through to the early hours of the 13 August".
Bill Cooke of NASA's meteoroid environment office offered the usual optimistic outlook and suggested that at their peak, the Perseids might offer "dozens of meteors per hour".
However, the BBC wisely cautions that light from the last quarter Moon will "interfere significantly with the view".
Nonetheless, the Vulture Central stargazers will as usual be cracking a beer in a dark spot somewhere on planet Earth in the vain hope we might get the long-awaited "one to tell your grandkids" meteor shower. Fingers crossed. ®
Quite good ... outside the UK
I was fortunate to be on holiday, staying near the top of a Greek hill, with clear (ish) skies (the odd cloud and some light interference from moon) and it was good to actually see a reasonable amount of meteors with relatively little time spent viewing .. whereas usually in the UK the combo of cloud and light pollution makes for a very poor experience even with long viewing stints.
Cheers for the sense of perspective
The BBC trumpeted that this shower will "make the sky sparkle!" giving people who don't know any better a false expectation of something resembling a starfied screen saver :-(
Even under ideal conditions, the perseids peak at a zenith hourly rate of around 60. Thanks to the BBC, I'll be getting complaints from friends that it wasn't spectacular enough!
Managed to capture one fast, coloured trail at about 4.33am.
The green is from Magnesium components, the Yellow/Orange from Sodium