Overview of visual meteor observations made by the author from Any Martin Rieux (northern France) in late May/early June. Among other things, extra attention was paid to the meteorshower tau Herculids, which would show a possible outburst on the night of May 30/31, 2022.

Overview of visual observations done 

Every year in May or June my wife Lizzie and I take a 14-day vacation. Usually we stay in Northern France, in Buzancy or Any Martin Rieux. Both addresses are very convenient for us, because our 5 dogs are also welcome there. This year we were in Any Martin Rieux at the Chambres Hotes Bel Any. A very small-scale holiday park. In addition to the large house of the owners, there are three small 2-person houses and an outbuilding where several rooms are rented out. The site is very large and beautifully maintained with plenty of space. The complex is located on the edge of Any Martin Rieux. The village has approximately 500 inhabitants and is located about 10 km east of the larger town of Hirson. In addition to being ideal for our dogs, it is also a dark location. The streetlights are reasonably well shielded and switched off after 22 h local time. It is also very quiet, only the many birds provide a beautiful musical setting.

Figure 1. The rented house on the property of Chambres Hotes Bel Any, in Any Martin Rieux.

The weather forecast for those two weeks was reasonable. The weather would be a bit cooler with a few rain showers now and then. Well, it’s no high meteor activity season so no problem. It is also primarily a holiday. But the date of May 30/31 was marked red on the calendar, the tau Herculids could show some activity as a result of the breakup of comet 29P/Schwassmann–Wachmann in 1995. The weather cooperated perfectly: out of 13 nights, 6 nights could be observed, an excellent score for western Europe. This makes this location far better compared to my home town Ermelo, as witnessed by the remote all sky there, which only recorded one night completely clear. Some nights that were clear in Any Martin Rieux were completely cloudy in Ermelo. In table 1 an overview is given of all clear nights and observations.


Period UT




























T=-2 Celsius






























T=-3 Celsius











6 sessions










Table 1. Overview of the author’s observations from Any Martin Rieux, Northern France.

The first cloudless night was May 24/25, 2022

After a (consciously chosen) break on visual neteor observations, this was also the first session of 2022. During the day a lot of cumulus clouds occurred, but these started to dissolve by sunset. It was clear for a while, but later on clouds moved in from the west again. After 21:45 UT the clouds had disappeared and the observations started at 21:50 UT. Incidentally, the observation spot became a path up the hill north of Bel Any, a five-minute walk. From there a beautiful view in all directions. A beautiful starry sky stretched out. After half an hour a nice ISS passage was also seen in the south. However, the conditions were not quite top and in the last hour there was some ground fog. The SQM reached a maximum of 21.20. In total, I counted 31 meteors during 3.05 hours, of which 4 meteors from the Antihelion region. Tau Herculids were also considered, but they were not yet visible. As expected in this kind of transparent conditions relatively many weak meteors. It was also a restless night, it started after half an hour when I was startled by a loud scream, repeated several times after ten seconds. The thought was with a bird of prey, also because the sound moved quickly from northeast of me to west of me. After a few minutes a farmer had apparently had enough of the screaming and a loud gunshot sounded…. The noise then gradually diminished. But beyond this, more gunshots and bangs could be heard at a greater distance. During the daytime, research revealed that surprisingly the sound did not come from some bird of prey but from a fox. Never thought they could scream so loud.

Figure 2. ISS passage in the night of 24/25 May 2022.
The last clouds are moving away in a southwesterly direction.

May 27/28 and 28/29

After two cloudy nights, the sky was clear again during the nights 27/28 and 28/29 May 2022. Both nights were characterized by very nice conditions with the limiting magnitude almost touching 6.7. Just before the observations started on the night of May 27/28, there was another beautiful ISS apparition low on the southwestern horizon. A number of fireball class satellites (…) were also observed. The first tau Herculids were observed on the second night. At first, I was skeptical because these were short slow meteors far from the radiant. Later it turned out that they were clearly tau Herculids…. Now finally some more bright meteors, three sporadic meteors of +1 and a nice orange yellow of 0 in Bootes were the most beautiful. The SQM value reached a maximum of 21.34 this night.

I was eagerly looking forward to 30/31 May. Unfortunately, the night before was completely cloudy as several observers reported more Tau Herculids this night. The CAMS networks had also already detected tau Herculids from May 27.

May 30/31, 2022: tau Herculids active!

After the cloudy previous night, the evening of May 30 didn’t look good either, with the weather and radar app showing clouds over Any Martin Rieux all night, with possible clearings between 00 and 01 UT. I also had a severe hay fever attack that afternoon, but luckily my eyes became calm again during the evening. Despite the bad prospects, I walked up just before 22 UT. There it was mostly cloudy, only very low south stars remained visible. Sometimes a bright star would pop through the clouds, but I couldn’t do anything. Short naps were the result and once I was rudely awakened by the screaming fox… Things changed around 23 UT, the clearings got a bit bigger and from 23:15 UT it was partly cloudy with nice clearings in between (Lm 6.4/6.5). This ~50% cloud period continued until 23:55 UT. Then the clouds started to disappear until it was completely clear from 00:10 UT. In the period 23:15-00:10 UT I saw, surprisingly enough, 6 meteors of which 3 tau Herculids under partly cloudy conditions. A +2, +4 and a +1 respectively. All were short, including those that appeared further away from the radiant. The brightest tau Herculids also showed an increasing brightness and then an abrupt end.
The sky was completely clear in my field of view from 00:10 to 01:00 UT. In the north, however, the sky remained cloudy below the polar star. I counted nine meteors in this period, of which 4 TAH and 2 Antihelions. Distribution TAH: +5, +3, 0 and +3. That 0 Tau Herculid was a very nice one, was white in color, appeared in the small constellation of Lyra and had a short flare at the end. Only a few sporadic meteors were observed. From 00:55 UT it started to close completely again, but by moving my field of view to the east I could observe until 01:00 UT. So, I’m glad I was able to see something of this phenomenon.

May 31/1 June 2022

This night was again completely clear. Observations could be done between 21:43 and 01:06 UT. A total of 39 meteors were seen, of which 5 Antihelion and 5 Tau Herculids. The tau Herculids showed 1 or 2 meteors every hour. A beautiful moment was at 00:18 and 00:19 UT, first a beautiful +1 ANT and then a beautiful blue-yellow magnitude 0 APEX meteor moving from Delphinus to Corona Borealis. That was the highlight of the night.

June 1/2 2022

The following night in June 2022 was also clear, but there was more moisture high in the atmosphere. Maximum SQM 21.20. Lm 6.6 at maximum. I was also a bit tired this night, which resulted in fewer meteors.

Summarized, these observations yielded 177 meteors over 6 nights (effective 17.61 hours). Unfortunately, no meteors were captured by the travel all-sky camera. Perhaps also because there are relatively many trees on the Bel Any site. All in all, a successful period. Let’s hope the weather cooperates in the upcoming actions.

Figure 3. My travel all sky camera in the field on the property of Bel Any 
guarded by the owners dog…

Figure 4. Star trails image from the night of May 28/29, 2022. A bright satellite of -6 moved quite high in the southeastern sky and was also seen visually. The all-sky camera was located on another site on the property of Bel Any with more obstruction from trees.