Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Australian Perseid Meteor Shower - Morning August 13-14, 2015
|Perseid radiant as seen from Darwin at 5:00 am local time, August the 13th, looking north.||Perseid radiant as seen from Brisbane at 5:00 am local time, August the 13th, looking north. Note how much lower the radiant is.|
The Perseid Meteor Shower runs from July 17–August 24, and peaks on Wednesday August 13 between 11:30 am- Midnight AEST (01:30h to 14:00h on August 13 UT). See the International Meteor Calendar for 2015 for further details.
This year is not bad, while the peak occurs after sunrise and before the radiant rises (or at least is at its closest to the horizon) in Australia, there is no Moon to ruin the shower.
Anyone south of Brisbane will see only the occasional meteor, say maybe one or two per hour (or less), the further north of Brisbane you are, the more meteors you will see.
You can check predictions for your local area at the NASA meteor flux estimator (choose 7 Perseids and 12-13 or 13-14 August 2015). People around the latitude of Darwin have the best chance of seeing meteors, possibly as many as one every 3 minutes at the peak (see table below). Next is places with the latitude of Cairns, then with the latitude of Mackay (like Port Headland and Mt Isa), and the places with the latitude of Alice Springs (again,see table below).
To see the meteors, you will need to be up from around 3:00 am local time on the 12th, 13th or 14th (yes, a really horrible hour of the morning), with best views 4:00 am-5:30 am on the 13th and 14th. The meteor shower will be located due North, with the radiant just above the northern horizon (see charts above). Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.
When you get up, allow at least 5 minutes for your eyes to adjust, and be patient, it may be several minutes before you are rewarded with you first meteor, then a couple will come along in quick succession. Choose a viewing spot where you can see a large swathe of sky without trees or buildings getting in the way, or with street lights getting in your eyes. The darker the spot the better (but do be sensible, don't choose a spot in an unsalubrious park for example).
A lawn chair or something similar will make your observing comfortable (or a picnic rug spread on the ground and a nice pillow), and having a Thermos of hot coffee, tea or chocolate to swig while watching will increase your comfort. (Here's some hints on dark adaption of your eyes so you can see meteors better).
|Town||Morning August 12||Morning August 13||Morning August 14|
|Alice Springs||5 meteors/hr||9 meteors/hr||10 meteors/hr|
|Brisbane||3 meteors/hr||5 meteors/hr||6 meteors/hr|
|Cairns||10 meteors/hr||15 meteors/hr||18 meteors/hr|
|Darwin||11 meteors/hr||22 meteors/hr||24 meteors/hr|
|Mackay||7 meteors/hr||12 meteors/hr||14 meteors/hr|
Rates on the morning of the 15th are similar to that of the 12th. Note, those of you who have Stellarium, in version 13 they have added meteor shower radiants (rates set in the planets dialogue, F4). However while the radiants show, the simulated meteors come from random points in the sky, not the radiants.
Scott: Hope you see a better show over the next few days.
Here carlingford in Sydney. Stayed outside with my 9 years old girl from 4:30 AM to 5:30 AM on 13/08. We saw 5 shooting stars. "WOW~~~~~~" We both shouted at first seeing a shooting star.
Will go out again at coming 4 AM. :-)
Helen, Kim, great that you got to see some nice ones!