You would think I had seen a meteorite shower

Went out to look for Perseids about 45 minutes ago. I had read that peak brightness would be between 9 and 11 p.m. tonight (local time, anywhere in the US); the article said that peak volume of meteors would be around 1 a.m., but that it would be outshone by the moon, making it harder to see them at that time.

Drove over to Shoreline Park; the park was closed, of course, but there's a hill right next to the park entrance that seemed like a relatively dark place to look for meteors.

Climbed halfway up the hill; didn't want to go all the way up, 'cause it was blocking a fair bit of light pollution (and, later, the moon). Used a couple of iPhone apps to figure out where Perseus was, near the northeast horizon (could've done it better with an iPhone 3GS, with the built-in compass), but then found out from a useful article that the meteors should be visible anywhere in the sky, not just near Perseus.

That article basically says to find someplace fairly dark, lie down, and look at the darkest part of the sky, which is often the zenith. Be patient, and let your eyes adapt to the dark.

Within moments of settling in, after reading the article, I saw a very bright meteor that zipped across a third of the sky, starting in the general direction of Perseus but nowhere near the constellation itself. That alone made the trip worthwhile.

Which was good, because in the next 20 minutes of watching the sky, I didn't see anything.

I finally gave up after the third time that a family who had picked the same hill to watch from gave excited "Ooh, look!" kinds of shouts—they kept seeing meteors, but I wasn't seeing any. May just have been looking at the wrong part of the sky, dunno. Anyway, around about then a persistent mosquito landed on my nose, and I decided it was time to come home.

Still, that one I saw was mighty cool.

I might go out in the backyard in a couple hours to see if I can see more. Or might try again tomorrow night.

(Added the next night: Oops, this was published with the wrong date. Sorry about that. Fixed now.)

Join the Conversation