I spent the morning sleeping in at Bootland Farm, then relaxing in Arnprior before Raymond Dubois joined me there.  We looked at the weather and discussed on the location to go for the next two nights.  We decided to stay put for the pre-max night, and then re-evaluate the weather the next morning.  After relaxing under Raymond’s large truck awning, we went to the Antrim Truck Stop, then back again to the site (quite handy, just a few minutes from Arnprior to Bootland Farm).  Back to the site, we were greeted by Al Robinson who came with his astronomy-themed camper van and was ready to photograph and observe with his 8” dob.  A short time later, Dan arrived as well.

At sunset, several clouds threatened but just as the CSC predicted, they dissipated.  The sky was then clear all night, but was more hazy and smoke from the forest fires out west caused reduced visibility near the horizons.  The transparency would later improve a bit overnight.  As I was setting up, a -4 Capricornid fireball flared in the west!  Nice one!  After a short nap, I signed on near 11pm and I watched until 4am, taking a few breaks though during the night.  For some reason, my allergies were really acting up and I often found myself with watery eyes, sneezing, and completely plugged up sinuses.  There were a few instances during the night that forced me to stop observing and get up.  Eventually, things eased up and I was fine.

In almost 4.5 hours, I saw 147 meteors (breakdown: 107 Perseids, 6 South Delta Aquariids, 5 Kappa Cygnids, 5 Capricornids, 3 Eridanids, 1 anthelion, 1 North Delta Aquariid and 19 sporadics).  Perseids felt a bit slow early in the night with several long lulls without any meteors, but they picked as the night went on.  The last hour hour period had 39 Perseids alone.  The CAPs were a surprise so far from their late July peak.  Sporadics were a bit lower than expected, but many dim meteors probably went unseen in the hazy lower portions of the sky.  At 11:26pm, a nice -4 PER with a 6 sec train was seen in Pegasus.  At 3:30am, another -4 PER this time with a 20 sec train!  I thought that would be the highlight of this night but…

At 3:45am, a monster approx -8 PER fireball lit up the sky!!  I was facing the opposite direction so I missed the actual meteor.  What I saw was like a flash of lightning.  However, Raymond was observing the northern sky, and he saw it perfectly.  I won’t forget his reaction, in Raymond’s words below: “Whoa!!!! THAT was STRONG!! It looked like an atomic bomb went off in space”.   I turned around, and sure enough, there was a brilliant persistent train hanging vertically and slowly starting to twist.  Quickly, I called “break” from visual watching into my tape recorder, grabbed my 9×63 binos and went for a close up view.  The train was starting to fade to the naked eye but still plainly visible.  In the binocs, it looked like a large “Z” shaped cloud, wow!  To make matters even more interesting, a dim Perseid was then seen shooting across the field of view of the binocs!  After a full 2 min, the fireball train was finally out of sight.  I’m glad that Raymond decided to switch his field of view to the north prior to the fireball – this way at least one of us saw it!  Unfortunately, this meteor can’t be officially counted in my report as I did not see it directly.

I went to sleep in my car just after 4am, and part of me wished I had stayed up as I was now seeing lots of meteor activity.  But I wanted to be awake and ready for the peak night.

Here’s a composite image (digital combination) of Perseid meteors captured around the Summer Milky Way on this night.  The meteors are co-added by combining multiple images together in Photoshop.  Canon 6D and Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 3200:

Perseids and Summer Milky Way

August 11/12 2018, 02:55-08:05 UT (22:55-04:05 EDT)
Location: Bootland Farm (Stewartville), Ontario, Canada
(Long: -76 deg 29′; Lat: 45 deg 23′)

Observed showers:
kappa Cygnids (KCG) – 18:59 (285) +50
alpha Capricornids (CAP) – 21:10 (317) -05
Anthelion (ANT) – 22:08 (332) -12
Northern delta Aquariids (NDA) – 23:04 (346) +02
Southern Delta Aquariids (SDA) – 23:30 (353) -12
Piscids Austrinids (PAU) – 23:44 (356) -19
Perseids (PER) – 03:12 (048) +57
eta Eridanids (ERI) – 03:00 (045) -12

02:55-03:55 UT (22:55-23:55 EDT); clear; 2/5 trans; F 1.00; LM 6.31; facing SE50 deg; teff 1.00 hr
PER: twelve: -4; 0; +1(4); +2(3); +3(2); +5
CAP: three: +1(2); +2
ANT: one: +5
SDA: one: +4
Sporadics: four: +1; +2; +4; +5
Total meteors: Twenty-one

04:11-05:06 UT (00:11-01:06 EDT); clear; 2/5 trans; F 1.00; LM 6.35; facing SE50 deg; teff 0.92 hr
PER: twenty: 0(4); +1(4); +2(2); +3(2); +4(4): +5(4)
Sporadics: three: +3; +4; +5
Total meteors: Twenty-three

05:24-06:34 UT (01:24-02:34 EDT); clear; 3/5 trans; F 1.00; LM 6.40; facing SE50 deg; teff 1.00 hr
PER: twenty-eight: -2(2); 0; +1(5); +2(5); +3(6); +4; +5(7); +6
KCG: three: +1(2); +2
SDA: three: +2; +3; +4
CAP: two: +2; +5
Sporadics: six: +1; +3; +4(2); +6(2)
Total meteors: Forty-two

06:34-07:36 UT (02:34-03:36 EDT); clear; 3/5 trans; F 1.05; LM 6.42; facing SE50 deg; teff 1.00 hr
PER: thirty-nine: -4; -1; 0(7); +1(4); +2(10); +3(6); +4(6); +5(4)
ERI: three: -1; +1; +5
KCG: two: +4(2)
SDA: one: +4
NDA: one: +5
Sporadics: one: +4
Total meteors: Forty-seven

07:36-08:05 UT (03:36-04:05 EDT); clear; 3/5 trans; F 1.00; LM 6.42; facing SE50 deg; teff 0.48 hr
PER: eight: +1(2); +2(2); +3(2); +4; +5
SDA: one: +3
Sporadics: five: +4(4); +5
Total meteors: Fourteen

Clear skies,

Pierre Martin
Ottawa, Ontario