Dark Skies: more meteors

I spent many an hour just laying back and observing the stars at the Okie-Tex star party this year. And its amazing the difference a really dark sky makes for meteor observing. If you check the Clear Sky clock for Kenton Oklahoma you’ll find the light pollution is listed as class 1 on the Bortle scale. Hard to get much darker than this.

One gets lost when they first gaze on a sky this dark, the number of stars you can see is overwhelming. You can’t find familiar constellations! And if you patiently watch for awhile you’ll see a consistent stream of faint meteors. Most of these are sporadic in nature but occasionally you’ll get a member of a meteor shower.

Such was the case when I saw my first Draconid meteor Wednesday night. A bright one it slowly streaked across the NW sky. Not only did it come from the right spot it had the tell tale slow speed. Awesome. Despite the nearly full moon and poor timing I’ll be watching tonight for more Draconids. Suggestions are they could have an abnormal peak ZHR and these kinds of events are a bit unpredictable. Nobody knows what you’ll see but you have to go out and look.

Update: A Draconid outburst did occur just as predicted. Had one been in Europe or Asia it would have been a very nice show, even with the moon out! I also note that the actual peak is close to what Meteor Shower Guide calculated +/- 1 hour.