(meteorobs) Perseid Max from SoCal

Robert Lunsford lunro.imo.usa at cox.net
Wed Aug 17 16:12:27 EDT 2011

Unlike the previous night, the day was mostly clear and it remained that way into the evening hours. I once again drove up to the 
mountains to view from the western slopes of the Laguna Mountains. I had a late start as we had to wait for one of my son's friends 
to show up at the house before leaving. It was clear along the coast but the stratus was quickly forming so there would be no 
Perseid viewing from the coastal regions of San Diego. Upon arrival the sky in the mountains was totally clear but appeared a bit 
more washed out compared to the previous night. The initial limiting magnitudes were near +5.4, just a bit worse than the previous 
night. There was no sign of the Milky Way anywhere in the sky and M31 was invisible to the naked eye. I started counting at 1:25 
PDT, facing northward toward Cepheus. Activity was good the first 95 minutes, with 25 meteors being counted, 19 of those belonging 
to the Perseid shower. During the period 2:30-3:00, I noticed a few puffs of clouds appearing in the east. By 3:30, these clouds 
were obscuring 50% of my view and causing real problems. Unfortunately they stuck around the remainder of the morning and only 16 
more meteors were seen.

In all I counted 41 meteors in 3.53 hours, 33 were members of the Perseid shower. There were no fireballs seen as the brightest 
meteor was magnitude -2. I did not notice any activity from the other minor showers.

I have heard varying descriptions of this shower but to me, it was weak beyond the effect of the moonlight. The Geminids will also 
peak under a bright moon later this year and they will easily surpass the numbers produced by the Perseids this year.

Clear Skies!

Robert Lunsford 

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