Archive for the ‘Satellites’ Category

Lyrids Meteor Shower Watch #3

My final night trying to spot the Lyrids Meteor shower was a couple of nights ago, when it was at its peak. This time I did manage to see some meteors! Yay! But only three, which was a shame. I was outside for almost an hour as well, so I was expecting to see a few more to be honest with you.

The three I did see were pretty good though. The first one was really bright and quite big seeming, and it shot along the sky just under the shining Jupiter. It left a nice trail behind it, which lasted a couple of seconds, and the way it went just below Jupiter made it an awesome sight. The other two meteors were literally one after each other, with only about 1 second between them, if that. They were in a different area of the sky and were quite dull compared to the first one. But, as they whizzed past almost at the same time and in the same place, that made it really interesting for me. I had never seen two meteors in such close proximity like that before.

Other than the meteors, I managed to see ten satellites go over and 6 planes fly over Plymouth. I never knew there were so many planes flying over Plymouth each night! The satellites were mostly the usual bright spot, tracking along the sky, but this time I saw two of them basically following each other. It looked as though they were in the same orbit and travelling at the same speeds, which I hadn’t seen before. I found it quite interesting following them passing over our house.

So all in all, it wasn’t a good few days of meteor spotting. In fact, I usually see more meteors than I did, when there isn’t a meteor shower due!  Hopefully, the skies will remain clear for the next meteor shower which will be the Eta Aquarids in early May, but this year isn’t going to be a good year to see them due to the size and brightness of the moon. Oh well!

Lyrids Meteor Shower Watch #2

Unfortunately, I again was unable to see any Lyrid Meteors last night, although I was only outside for about 20 minutes. I did manage to see 3 satellites and 2 planes in that time though, but there wasn’t a single meteor at all! It seems that when I go out purposefully trying to see meteors, I don’t see them, but when I go out just to have a general look at the sky, one or two always seem to shoot across the sky! 😉 Perhaps I will have better luck tonight as it is the height of the meteor shower today.

Perseids 2013

Last night I spent about 40 minutes outside meteor spotting. Luckily it was the first night in ages that there was a mostly clear sky, apart from the occasional wispy clouds that passed overhead. It was good timing as last night was the peak of the Perseid Meteor shower of 2013 although you can still see meteors up until the 24th August when the Earth passes out of the meteor hot spot.

It took a while to spot anything but in the end I managed to see 8 meteors, 4 satellites, the International Space Station (ISS – which was a nice surprise!) and a strange looking triangle shaped Plane with weird flashing lights (aliens? 😉 ). The most interesting thing of all was that I also saw a bright flash in the sky and then it gradually faded away. I think it must have been a larger meteor hitting the atmosphere and exploding or something but it seemed to be heading in the wrong direction for the meteor shower, which made it more strange. It would be interesting to know if anyone else saw this last night? It must have been about 23:20 when I saw this. Please leave a comment on this post if you did see that last night as well!

As mentioned above, if you missed the meteor show last night, then you can still see them up until near the end of the month. If you can find the constellations of Cassiopeia and The Plough (Ursa Major), then kind of look between and above them and this is the general area where the meteors shoot across the sky. There were some really good ones and a couple of years ago I saw the best meteor I have ever seen towards the end of August, so it is definitely possible to see them for a few weeks yet!



The Plough (part of Ursa Major)

The Plough (part of Ursa Major)

Lyrid Meteor Shower 2013

Unfortunately, this year the viewing of the Lyrid meteor shower will be hindered by a very bright and almost full Moon (if you get clear skies that is)!  It’s a real shame as the Lyrid meteor shower is one of the best ones of the year. Having said that, if you are out on its peak, which is today (the 22nd April), you may still spot the brighter meteors, but obviously these will be far fewer than if it was a clear sky as you would see the fainter ones as well.

My wife and I went out last Friday evening (19th) to try and have a look as it was a very clear sky and the Moon wasn’t quite as bright as it would be tonight, and I managed to see one very faint meteor (I think) in the distance, but that was about it. We gave up on the meteors after about half an hour as it was still just too bright and the direction they come in is close to the horizon for us where a lot of trees are situated. If it clears up again tonight, I will go out and try and view them again (with my fingers crossed!).

One good thing that came out of viewing last Friday, was that I saw 2 satellites and also the International Space Station fly over (the first time for both this year due to the constant bad weather we have had!). I always enjoy viewing the ISS, even though you don’t really see much, as it still amazes me that that is a space station which we can see shining bright from Earth. I would be happy to view it every night if I could! 😉

Anyway, happy meteor spotting tonight and leave a comment on here or my twitter account (@strethewey) if you do manage to see anything!