Kirk came over last night and we worked very hard on the Perseids. Working hard counting Perseids involves laying on one's back, drinking a tasty port and watching the skies… oh yea…
OK, there were some clouds involved, but we had enough holes in the canopy to tally up about 28 by 1:00AM.
OK, here's where the die hards are separated from the enthusiasts (OK, maybe that actually happened earlier when we went out in spite of the clouds, but I digress). We stayed out there…
Around 3:00AM the sky really opened up, however, the Perseids didn't. There were some long periods of no activity, interupted briefly by a batch of three meteors (one after the other, not simultaneous, mind you). OK, Kirk snored a few times 8) (zzzzz), but all told we tallied 54 by 4:00AM. The activity wasn't as shower-like as I had hoped. At that point, it wasn't the sky conditions keeping the numbers down. In fact, the clouds were gone and the sky was soooo stable, I could see a plethora of Pleiades (I could count TEN Pleiades! I could see more, but the little buggers disappear when you look at them directly). The sky was great!
Almost all of the meteors were Perseids. There were some that seemed like anti-perseids. They were shooting upwards, from approximately the pleiades (maybe a tad south of there) and straight up to Perseus (right between the legs 😮 ). I literally saw two Perseids take that path down and two anti-perseids take the opposite route.
Sometime after 4:00 the clouds moved back over again and so did my eyelids. We had rolled out a couple carpets and each bundled up in our own weather-proof cocoons. I highly recommend a sleeping bag for this task. I stayed pretty warm, maybe it was the port (ya gotta try Dustin's port–it is absolutely the best!). In any case, there's no substitute for the fresh air you get sleeping under the sky. I'm sure we were both keeping the owls awake at that time zzzzzzzz.
Oh yea, I have to mention two satellites I saw (I saw more than two, but these two were notable). One I thought for sure was the ISS. At about 3:45, it cut the southern sky, from the south-west, over the southern horizon, over/through Cetus, and set in the south-east. Smooth, consistent and bright. Another, almost as bright satellite came from the south and headed north, under Cassiopeia and over Auriga. It seemed very much like an Iridium satellite but without the flare. It brightened and dimmed some but it was fairly consistent. I tried to look them up on Starry Night and couldn't peg either one.
I hope the Perseids are better tonight. The forcast has completely reversed itself. Yesterday it said it would be clear until midnight and then cloud up, now it says it will be cloudy until after midnight and then clear up. I kind of like that forecast better–if I can trust it.
Meteor watchers, prepare!