Aeromoe's Version of Joe Orman's Naked-Eye 100 List

Number 88: Perseid Meteor Shower

August 12/13 2010
My first meteor "shower" since beginning this list was the Perseids on August 13th, 2010. I didn't see very many as I was inside most of the night. When I did step outside I caught two within quick succession at 0128hrs Local. Bright "stadium" lighting right overhead my location killed any thoughts of time-exposure photography: the lights quickly fogged the few test images I made.

Satisfied with just a few bright ones for the night, I called it quits and proceeded to watch another night-time spectacle: a double-shadow transit of Jupiter by Ganymede and Io. Ganymede's shadow was already well within the disc of Jupiter when I started viewing but an hour later, Io's shadow began to creep across the face of Jupiter. My six-inch Dobsonian with a 7.5mm eyepiece yields 160x and I had no trouble observing both shadows. Some of Jupiter's "surface" features are also visible with that aperture and power so I made a few little sketches of what I was watching. Seeing was not the greatest and manually tracking Jupiter is a constant exercise at that power but it was still a sight for my novice eyes to behold.

August 13/14 2010
For the evening of August 13/14, I went out to a relatively dark site at Rainbow Valley. We were having a rocket launch on Saturday morning and I wanted to spend the night out there under the stars. I'd rented a wide angle lens from a local camera shop to try and get some sky photos with. While my photo endeavours were less than "stellar" I had fun trying. The main point is there were meteors in abundance!! I didn't keep track of them but I estimate I saw at least 100 during the night. Of course, none of them found their way past my viewfinder while the camera was capturing starlight but it was a beautiful sight anyway.

August 14/15 2010
Since I had the rented lens for the whole weekend, I decided to travel to the north a bit and try and escape the sky glow from the Phoenix Metro area. I tried two spots around Kirkland and Skull Valley before settling down at a spot between Skull Valley and Prescott. Again, I hadn't quite sussed out the rented lens but I did take a lot of non-guided time-exposures. Again, there were meteors-a-plenty but not as many as the previous night. The sky was definitely darker overall but there was some sky glow from Prescott to the northeast. I called it a night a little after 5am as Orion was climbing the eastern sky. On the drive to Kirkland the sky had brightened up quite a bit but I did manage to spot Sirius under Orion.

August 15 2010
I spent a couple of hours out on Sunday night trying to make the best of the time remaining with the rented lens. I decided to drive up towards Yarnell. There is a south-facing scenic overlook on highway 89 that I'd stopped at on the way home this morning so I decided to park it there and see what I could do. I was a bit more successful with the camera/lens combo this time but the meteor action in the late evening was no match for the two previous nights. I just didn't have the time this night to stay out all night like the previous two nights.

All-in-all I'd call my first meteor-shower weekend a resounding success for observing. Given some time to practice and with the right equipment I think I could make some pleasing sky photos.