reply to post by kiwifoot
If it was during August, then they may well have been Perseids. There are actually lots of annual meteor
, but some are more reliable than others for in some respects, like producing a high percentage of bright/fireball meteors or have
reasonably consistent rates from year to year. The Perseids tick both those boxes fairly often, and they are at the height of summer so they are
definitely up there, along with the Geminids, and Leonids (when they are in "outburst mode").
The Quadrantids (January), Orionids (October) and Lyrids (April) can also put on quite a good show, but there is always a chance of a surprise from
even lesser well known meteor showers, like the Draconids and Aurigids although that is fairly rare.
Yeah, the weather is a real problem here. I'm also in the UK, so I know where you're coming from!
There are a few things you can do that will help, but if the weather doesn't want to cooperate, you're usually out of luck.
Firstly, with some showers (Perseids and Geminids are good examples), in the buildup to the peak, the nights before and even after peak can also be
quite good, so try to take advantage of those if you can, so that if the peaks are clouded out you can usually get to see a bit of activity. Also it
may turn out that you catch a peak/sub-peak in activity that was not predicted.
Secondly, if you have transport, try and drive somewhere where it's likely to remain clear. Getting above the cloud is one possibility, for some at
least, but if you are not close to any mountainous terrain that is accessible, look at the forecasts and satellite images to try and work out where
might be clear. These two links between them work quite well:
Thirdly, book a flight to somewhere high and dry, and where the peak is expected to be best viewed from. One group of observers flew out from Ireland
to Nepal for this years Leonids for example. This only really works with/is worth doing for showers like the Leonids, and a few others where the
predictions are fairly "well nailed down".
That last suggestion is not much use with the Geminids, but you can get a pretty good idea of which times are best to observe by looking at the graphs
for previous year's results here
, and indeed get an idea of which other showers are worth checking out.
For the last 3 years the Geminids have peaked at between about 120-140 per hour early in the morning of the 14th December, and rates have still been
quite respectable on the surrounding nights.
That should give you some idea which showers/dates are worth investing time in.
I did go back out tonight when there were some gaps in the cloud a little while back (almost totally clear for a short time), and saw a single short
but nice Leonid fireball. I also saw a couple of sporadic meteors and a possible Taurid meteor that was not too shabby although not quite a fireball
when I went out earlier on, but the clouds kept rolling in to spoil the fun.
By the way, check out some of the photos that have been sent in to spaceweather.com
Click on them for the full size versions