Perseids 2016 : Early reports

Late July and early August reports

The poor summer weather restricted opportunities to see much of build up in Perseid rates towards maximum night.

However, one of automated cameras operated by Richard Fleet (Wilcot, Hants) captured this rather picturesque image of a fireball through a cloud break at 02:43 UT on the morning of July 24th. The software he was using identified it as a Perseid.

Several observers in the NEMETODE group took advantage of clear skies during the night of July 27-28 and imaged a number of Perseids and, by chance, picked up a short-lived outburst from the Gamma Draconid minor meteor shower.

Tracie Heywood (Leek) made use of  a spell of mostly clear skieson Aug 8-9 between 0037 UT and 0237 UT (2 hours, LM 5.5-5.4) to see 26 meteors, 13 of them being Perseids. The brightest was a mag -1 yellow Perseid at 01:35 UT, which left a train that persisted for 0.5 seconds.


Perseid maximum night Aug 11-12

Although the “normal” Perseid maximum was predicted to occur around 13h UT on August 12th, there were confident predictions of enhanced activity spell(s) during the night of Aug 11-12. However, different people made different predictions regarding the timing of any outbursts.

Reports indicate that a Perseid outburst did indeed occur near 23h UT (midnight BST) during the night of Aug 11-12.

Results from that night are still being submitted  to various organisations and it will take some time for a detailed picture to appear.  However, Geert Barentsen has tweeted this graph.

Note that the ZHR is on the right hand scale.

The peak ZHR from the Perseids is normally around 80-100.

Unfortunately, much of the UK was clouded out. Some parts of the English midlands had broken cloud at first but then clouded over. Alex Pratt (Leeds), for example only managed to image 11 Perseids, whereas other imagers in the NEMETODE group who had clear skies captured hundreds of Perseid images.

Many areas of the south had clear skies throughout.

Richard Fleet (Wilcot, Hants) has posted many images of bright Perseids to the live feed on the UKMON website, some of which are reproduced below. Note that the first two show the same fireball, at 23:12 UT, imaged by cameras pointing in two different directions (SW and SE). The bright fireball in the penultimate image appeared at 03:46 UT.

Radio observations

Bill Ward (Kilwinning) was clouded out, butmonitored the Perseid activity using radio methods.

He comments that he recorded many of the unusual (and not understood) “epsilon” type echoes and also some very long duration ones.

He has posted this video (3m36s) which summarises his results.

Bill explains that it shows frame-grabs of meteor trail reflections from the GRAVES radar in France between 2300 and 0600 UT during the night of Aug 11-12.

Each image is a 30 second time span. Each flash in the lower box is an echo. Some last for nearly 2 minutes and have complex shapes.