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The 1999 Perseid Meteor Shower

The night of August 11, 1999, was the beginning of the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower. Although predictions were made for 60-80 meteors, predictions for rain at my location in Kansas were also made. After a morning of showers and an afternoon of clouds, the skies cleared off to allow for some pretty nice evening observing.

Dark came around 10 p.m. and some of my guests and I went outside to look. The Milky Way could be seen easily so we settled in for some meteor watching. Although it was in the pre-midnight hours, we still saw around 15 meteors per hour with some being about mag. 1 and leaving 60 degree trails. Most were Perseids, but there were a few sporadics. The night stayed clear until around 12, and we called it quits.

I expect guests again tonight and tomorrow night for meteor observing. The weather predictions are for showers around the Neb.-Kans. border and south of the turnpike, both of which are many miles away from Mayetta. I hope for a clear night tonight so any friend who comes out will have the opportunity to get a view of 60-80 meteors per hour.

Brenda Culbertson
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Washburn University

Subj: RE: The 1999 Perseid Meteor Shower
Date: 8/16/99 9:49:08 AM Central Daylight Time
From: Kelley.Knight@hhsc.state.tx.us (Knight, Kelley)
To: EFLASPO@aol.com ('EFLASPO@aol.com')

I went to observe the meteor shower on Highway 29 East between Georgetown and Granger from 2 to 6 a.m. CDT. Even though I wasn't as ardeous in recording details I did notice 132 meteors ranging in magnitudes of -3 to 5th magnitude.

It seemed the faucet was turned on around 3:30 a.m. There was another weird coincidence it seemed as soon as the wind gusted to 20 mph there were outbursts of five or six meteors shortly after.

Perseid 1999 Fireball - Photo copyright by Robert Reeves, San Antonio Astronomical Association

Perseid Meteor Burst, August 12, 1999, by Robert Reeves, San Antonio, TX

click on image to view full size

Bagged a Perseid with My New Toy

I am pretty tickled that a project I have been working on actually worked. Some of you knew I was building this rediculous monster of a camera mount for meteor photography that would carry eight cameras at once on an equatorial platform that was powered up for auxiliary battery power to electronic cameras and eight separate dew zappers. Well... the attached image shows it apparently worked! And not too shabily for a platform that was polar aligned in less than 15 seconds.

I have only developed one of the eight rolls of film and this is what I got on the second shot. All I know about the image is that it was just after 3:30 am on the 13th and the field is toward the SW. It is 5 min on Fuji Superia 400 and the colors in the meteor trail are real. I used a Minolta XG-7 with an f/1.7 lens for this particular shot. I guess I lost a lot of sleep after this for nothing because I had already accomplished my mission by 3:30.

There are still about four or five shots left on each of the other seven rolls and I intend to use them to take pictures of the platform and special modifications to it in order to do the meteor work. I'll get them snapped this week then see what cooked on the rest of the film.

Visually from David McDavid's driveway we saw about 30 per hour between 4 and 6 am, which was 10 to 12 hours after the predicted shower peak. Only two were true fireballs.

Robert Reeves
520 Rittiman Rd.
San Antonio, TX
78209 U.S.A.
29.484N 98.440W 200 meters

Subj: Interesting Perseid photo.
Date: 9/12/99 2:46:12 PM Central Daylight Time
From: mensa@freewwweb.com (M Linnolt)
Reply-to: mensa@freewwweb.com
To: EFLASPO@aol.com (Ed)

Hello Ed,

Perseid photo by Mike LinnoltWe went to the White Mountains in Calif, for the Perseids, last month. Well, we went to Barcroft station, the Univ. of California's high altitude research facility, in a remote part of the Calif-Nevada border, east of the high peaks area of the Sierra-Nevada. This site was the runner-up to Mauna Kea for the 10m Keck telescope, so it had a reputation for outstanding clarity, and it did live up to it.

I used only half of my precious last rolls of Kodak PPF400 film, so I did not process it until I finished the roll this week at Haleakala. I include a lucky shot from Barcroft, that caught a decent Perseid, but also a non-Persid in the same 5 min exposure! What are the odds of that happening !???

The smaller, white meteor is not Perseid, because it intersects the Perseid trail near the top of the frame, in Aries. The color of the meteor is quite different, too.

Not only does the photo show the 2 different meteors, but a bunch of other interesting objects: Saturn is the brightest "star" just beneath the Perseid, the Pleiades are in the center, the California nebula is the red arc at lower left, and Algol is the brightest star at extreme left edge. What an action packed shot!

I also include a day photo of the access road area to Barcroft. It is near our observing site, and is looking SW over the Owens valley toward the (still snowcovered!) Sierra mountains, south of Yosemite. I believe Mt. Whitney is one of them, but there a bunch of 4000m+ peaks in that area.

If you want, you can put these in the AAAA webpage, just like before.

Talk to you soon,
Mike Linnolt

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