During the day, Raymond Dubois and I discussed where to go for the peak of the Perseids. We found the possibility of clouds encroaching from the south overnight, so we decided to drive 3 hours north into Quebec to La Verendrye Forest Reserve. Once at the airstrip, we saw people at the other end so we checked it out. We were greeted by a small group of Quebec observers setup with their scopes for a few nights. They were also there for the Perseids. We proceeded to setting up our cameras and equipment, then having supper. The sky overhead was clear but very hazy due to forest fire smoke from the fires out west. It looked like we were not going to be able to enjoy very a transparent night as was forecasted, but thankfully clouds were not an issue! Later in the evening, another car pulled in and it was the Director of Programming for the Montreal Planetarium. He came to do some 360 degrees meteor imaging/video work with a new very high end Canon camera! Fascinating!!
Indeed the haze remained all night, maxing out the limiting magnitude at 6.4-6.5 or 2/5 transparency. On a really good night, this site can produce mag 7.1-7.5 skies. Around the horizons, faint stars were difficult to see. Furthermore, there was some ground mist around the tree line. This caused really strong glows and light shows of sorts whenever a truck came by on the highway (Raymond captured this well on his cameras). The glare from traffic lights couldn’t be seen — thankfully the tree line blocked them off. A few cars from locals drove in and out in the evening, but it was quiet later on. Once I had the cameras running, I signed on at 10:50pm and watched until 4:45am for a total of nearly 5 hours. I took a couple of long breaks to attend my cameras. Visual rates averaged at or slightly over one meteor per minute. My total count was 279 meteors (breakdown: 231 Perseids, 8 Kappa Cygnids, 5 Capricornids, 3 antihelions, 3 South Delta Aquariids, 3 Eridanids, 1 North Delta Aquariid and 25 sporadics). Perseids hourly rates were 37, 47, 66 and 62. I was surprised to see CAPs still active. There was also pretty KCGs rates that would seem to support a peak a few nights earlier than what was previously believed. The highlight was a -4 PER at 3:54am that shot 30 degrees high in the south, flared and left a 25 sec train!!
It was also my first serious use of my new Skywatcher Star Adventurer compact equatorial mount. What a nice mount that provided smooth, accurate tracking all night long, and without any issues. The counterweight that came with the kit allowed both cameras to be mounted. Doing a correct polar alignment using the phone app was also easy and quick. I highly recommend this mount for light loads and portability. Raymond was also running two of these mounts.
According to the IMO, this year was a normal or slightly below average peak (max ZHR=91). Furthermore, it looks like the highest rates occurred several hours earlier during daylight. In recent memory, 2015 was a more active year. Still, it was a very nice display and you simply can’t go wrong with the peak night of the Perseids, especially near New Moon! Here’s my photo results:
Wide Angle Composite of the Perseids
Composite image (digital combination) of 51 Perseid meteors. The brightest meteor on the bottom right was mag -3. Canon 6D and Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 3200:
Perseids Through Milky Way
Composite image (digital combination) of 7 Perseid meteors. Mars is the bright object at the bottom left. Canon 5D and Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 lens (at f/2.0), ISO 1600:
Perseids in the Eastern Sky
Composite image (digital combination) of 41 Perseid meteors captured on the night of August 12-13 2018. The Pleiades (M45) are visible bottom left of centre. The faint greenish bands are a combination of fog, airglow and forest fire smoke at the time that the stars background image was taken. Canon 5D and Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 lens (at f/2.0), ISO 1600:
August 12/13 2018, 02:50-08:45 UT (22:50-04:45 EDT)
Location: La Verendrye Forest Reserve, Quebec, CANADA
(Long: -76 29′; Lat: 46 deg 59′)
kappa Cygnids (KCG) – 18:59 (285) +50
alpha Capricornids (CAP) – 21:10 (317) -05
Antihelion (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
02:50-03:55 UT (22:50-23:55 EDT); clear; 2/5 trans; F 1.00; LM 6.38; facing SE60 deg; teff 1.08 hr
PER: thirty-seven: -1; 0(4); +1(6); +2(9); +3(5); +4(6); +5(3); +6(3)
KCG: four: +2(3); +3
ANT: two: +4(2)
CAP: one: +3
Sporadics: four: +3(2); +4; +5
Total meteors: Forty-eight
03:55-05:05 UT (23:55-01:05 EDT); clear; 2/5 trans; F 1.00; LM 6.50; facing SE60 deg; teff 1.16 hr
PER: forty-seven: -3(2); -2; 0(5); +1(8); +2(7); +3(8); +4(10); +5(4); +6(2)
CAP: three: -3; +3; +4
ANT: one: 0
SDA: one: +4
Sporadics: five: +4(2); +5(2); +6
Total meteors: Fifty-seven
05:39-06:48 UT (01:39-02:48 EDT); clear; 2/5 trans; F 1.00; LM 6.53; facing SE60 deg; teff 1.15 hr
PER: sixty-six: -1; 0(7); +1(9); +2(11); +3(9); +4(13); +5(14); +6(2)
KCG: two: +1; +5
CAP: one: +3
SDA: one: +1
ERI: one: +3
Sporadics: seven: +2; +3(3); +4(3)
Total meteors: Seventy-eight
07:19-08:19 UT (03:19-04:19 EDT); clear; 2/5 trans; F 1.00; LM 6.50; facing SE60 deg; teff 1.00 hr
PER: sixty-two: -4; -3; -1(2); 0(8); +1(13); +2(8); +3(13); +4(9); +5(7)
KCG: two: +2; +4
ERI: two: +3: +5
NDA: one: +4
SDA: one: +3
Sporadics: eight: +3(3); +4; +5(3); +6
Total meteors: Seventy-six
08:19-08:45 UT (04:19-04:45 EDT); clear; 2/5 trans; F 1.00; LM 5.98; facing SE60 deg; teff 0.43 hr
PER: nineteen: -1; 0(2); +1; +2(5); +3(4); +4(5); +5
Sporadics: one: +5
Total meteors: Twenty
For the IMO report form with shorter and more detailed data sets, please see:
Clear skies and thanks to Raymond Dubois for joining me on this highly successful meteor night!
Nice report and outstanding images! Since a couple of weeks I have also a staradventurer.
I hope to capture 21P in the coming nights.
Best wishes, Koen
Thank you very much Koen! I was able to get a few images of 21P passing in front of M35. Be sure not to wait because already, the comet is becoming significantly dimmer compared to what it was about a week ago.
I’m looking forward to the Draconids! I’m very excited at the prospect of seeing activity this year, even if it is not stormy (possibly ZHR 15-50 range due to 1953 dust trail and background activity). The expected peak time should occur just as the sky becomes dark here. I certainly will try to get to the darkest possible sky!
Clear skies, Pierre
Good Luck with the Draconids Pierre!
I will also try to observe them, but I will not travel for this.