Saturday, 22 August 2015

Less Perseid Meteors These Days?

This year was perfect meteor watching time with no moon polluting the sky so all that was required was to tilt the deckchair towards the W in the sky (Cassiopeia) and hope the clouds played nicely.    
Of the three premium nights, one had a thunderstorm of biblical proportions and one was just too cloudy to see anything but the main night of the 13th/14th August was crystal clear and we sat around until silly o'clock drinking hot chocolate and ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the shooting stars.
Maybe it is like most things as you get older, but i am sure that when i stood in a dark field decades ago there were more meteors streaming across the sky then there have been in recent years. 
Where it would be the promised two or three meteors a minutes we witnessed, there does seem to be longer gaps between the flashes in the sky these last few years.       
We were in the darkest place in England on the main night so it can't be blamed on increased light pollution as it was impossibly dark and the milky way was easily visible above our heads but something seems to have changed.
As the Swift-Tuttle comet has been making visits through our planets orbit for millenniums it could be that the remnant stream is drying up as the comet shrinks slightly every 130 years when it comes back to fly past the Sun or possibly the comets angle has changed slightly by interaction with Jupiter or some other planet and we are not quite in the stream anymore.
It could just be that it is exactly the same as previous years and it is my memory that has gone wonky and not the comet at all.


Liber said...
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Falling on a bruise said...

Whatever the reason, I'm sure there are less of them.