Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Full moon-lit Perseids weak even after correcting: ZHRmax ~ 70

Initial poor Impressions of the strength of the 2011 Perseids, heavily bathed in moonshine, have since been confirmed: The zenithal hourly rate reached only about 70 just before noon UTC on Aug. 13 (and this includes corrections for the depressed limiting magnitude). Still - as every year - photographers could get happy with the show: a collage of many perseid streaks and individual ones here, here, here, here and here. Not many are seen in this video, while another one contains many insects ... The most talked-about Perseid image was one taken from the ISS, of course: My research into earlier similar successes is also acknowledged here while different versions of the image are seen here, here and here. • In other meteor news a Dutch expedition to Namibia yielded 2000 meteors, detailled papers and more about the upcoming Draconids is linked here, and there's a strange report from Japan ...

In other small bodies news comet Garradd on Aug. 15, Aug. 14, Aug. 10, Aug. 9 (also an animation), Aug. 7 (more) and Aug. 6. • 45P/H-M-P close to Earth was covered here, here and hier. • Split comet 214P/van Ness on Aug. 9 and Aug. 7 (more) - the 2nd nucleus was seen as early as July 12, by the way. • Comet Elenin on Aug. 13 and in the FOV of a STEREO satellite (movie included!); also an observing guide and a NASA FAQ about Elenin BS which later spawned a JPL Press Release and stories here and here. • And another McNaught discovery ... • A long list of dwarf planet candidates, the case of Kuiper belt object 2007 OR10 (also as a story here and here, KBO hunting for New Horizons and a prediction of a Pluto ring.

Elsewhere in the Universe a small but cute Jupiter of Aug. 12. • A lot of solar activity: a new AR - 1271 - has appeared at the limb, prominence movies of Aug. 16 and Aug. 10 and the biggest solar flare of the cycle on Aug. 9, causing lots of coverage but few effects as it happened at the limb. Future ones may be more effective: solar flare primers as a video and a story. Plus a paper on new scientific insights from solar eclipse observations in the past 5 years. • A possible Nova in Lupus has been confirmed, the progenitor of the SN in M 51 (the claims here are questioned, BTW), and a call for continued monitoring of Eps Aur. • The Aug. 6 aurora from Scotland, Germany (a review) and Canada (a twilight video). • NLCs in the U.K. on Aug. 3 and Finland on July 21. • Some candidates for astrophotographer of the year, some pretty space pics (big!) and NanoSail D flashing over Europe.

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