(meteorobs) Re: NM 98May31/1 meteors slow

I am enjoying a very clear stretch right now, beginning 1998 May 31/1.  The
smoke is gone for now, and some much-needed rain cleared the air.  Hot and
muggy, I was sweating the first hour -- must have been around 80oF with 90%
humidity.  It gradually cooled down to about 76F, slightly more comfortable.
Fanning with the lid of a pizza box served to keep some mosquitoes off as
well as cool me a little.   This night I observed 225 - 542 EDT  (625 -
942UT) for 3:17 hours and recording 21 meteors.  These comprised  1 Eta
Aquarid, 1 Chi Scorpiid, 2 SAG, and 17 sporadics. Sky LM was 7.3 until 526.
Total hourly rates 226 - 526 EDT were 7,7,6 -- quite consistent.  For the
third hour I went 45 minutes into it with only one meteor seen; was
expecting a dismal finish when the last 15 minutes cut loose with 5 more
meteors.  One extra sporadic was seen in dawn sky.  I am just able to finish
the hour 426 - 526 in darkness; its end may be clipped slightly near the
solstice.  Sporadics averaged 2.25m for 16 seen in dark sky, running quite
bright due to lack of faint ones.  There was nothing brighter than 0m.  Not
many meteors, but seeing a dark sky again after so long was quite enjoyable.

The Eta Aquarid came at 259 EDT, about the usual time I was seeing the first
one on each May morning.  It was just +3m but covered 40 degrees in 2
seconds, and leaving a 1-second train.  The Chi Scorpiid was an orange +1m
lasting 2 seconds going slow, the most enjoyable meteor of the night.

Finally got around to looking up the iridium satellite page, and have found
predictions to be precise on time.  Magnitudes have generally been a little
fainter than the predictions.  It is interesting to note that a series of
flashes occurs at about the same location, with time gradually shifting,
over a string of nights.  Sometime I would like to use the site to determine
where a flash at the greatest magnitude will occur, then go there to see it.
So far I haven't seen one brighter than  -4m.  Manipulate the
latitude-longitude input to get right under the maximum flash, then go to
the map page for the location.

Using my 12.5" f/4 reflector with an eyepiece that gives a 3-degree field, I
see something pass through the field about every 15 minutes no matter what
time of night it is.  Have seen objects as faint as +13m, so these must be
bits of debris in orbit.

It's remarkable how many people don't follow the instructions on how to
unsubscribe from the list.  There were four bailouts today alone that all of
us had to share in.

Meanwhile on the home front, our water barrels attracted some frogs going at
it when I was leaving for observing, and when I returned at sunrise, 5
containers had frog eggs.  We aren't prepared to start raising them again so
will commit these to lizard morsels.  Last year the eggs appeared in
mid-July, and the last tadpole wasn't gone until mid-January.  I had
fattened many of  them on good bread to a length of 1.5 inches.

Will have to write more later.  Almost time to head out again for the fourth
night in a row.