Category Archives: Astronomy

Perseid fun

Well according to the Times:

An astonishing natural firework display left thousands throughout southern and Mediterranean Europe enthralled last night, but sky-watchers in Britain were largely frustrated on a cloud-covered evening.

Not so here! Despite my obvious interest in astronomy (even though I own neither telescope nor binoculars) I’ve seen more comets (several) than I’ve seen meteors in meteor showers (none).  That was remedied last night however during the Perseids.  After afternoon showers the sky cleared and stayed clear well into the night over Gateshead and even with the sodium glow of streetlights the meteors were zipping across the sky from 10.30pm onwards.  Warmed with a coat (and hipflask of whisky obviously) I finally broke my meteor cherry.  I guess the new moon, and having carefully worked out where they would be appearing in the sky helped a lot, and I was rewarded with streaks, flashes and a particularly memorable and long lived meteor during the 40 minutes or so I stayed outside.   Shame it wasn’t a Saturday night I would have laid on the grass all night and watched them.  It’s a great show, I can’t believe I’ve missed it so many times.  I think I will be out more in the future on those clear, dark nights when Swift-Tuttle and the like strew their debris into our path.