The Perseids

I spent a hour or two outside in the garden looking for evidence of the Perseid meteor shower. I really should have been out on Monday – when the shower was at its peak – but, as usual, cloud cover won the night.

I saw a few (less than ten), but I couldn’t help feeling that the Perseids are a bit overrated. They were both fast and faint; not very spectacular. By coincidence, I was out walking the dogs just after 10pm, when it was getting dark, and I saw an absolutely spectacular slow-moving meteor (not a Perseid) that went from the zenith almost down to the northern horizon, leaving a trail for half of its flight.

During the observation of the Perseids, I attempted to make one of those time lapse films that are very popular these days. The Guardian has an example of one of these films, but they rather spoiled it by saying that the objects streaking across the sky are Perseids. Nope – they’re either aircraft or satellites.

I was struck last night by just how many satellites are visible to the naked eye – flitting about in all directions. Several of them also displayed flaring – as the sun catches their antennae or solar panels – the so-called Iridium Flares. That almost made up for the disappointment in the Perseids.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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