I’m still reeling over the high point of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower which I witnessed over Leeds in the early hours of Tuesday in the grounds of Temple Newsam. It was such a spectacular event to just sit back and cast your eyes to the heavens and watch this celestial “natural firework display” unfold as our Earth’s orbit takes us through a stream of dusty comet fragments left behind when comet Swift-Tuttle passed close to Earth in 1992.
Amazingly my image below was also featured on the local BBC News channel …Yeah!! 🙂
Perseid Meteor Shower 2013 over Yorkshire
The meteors appear to come from a point in the constellation of Perseus, hence the name Perseid.
Perseid Meteor Shower 2013 over Leeds
I’ve got to say, to see these meteors burn up as they strike the atmosphere, creating dazzling streaks of light across the night sky was a magical solo experience…apart from the odd fox taking an interest in me and the trusty camera.
International Space Station over Temple Newsam
While I was in the grounds of Temple Newsam I also managed to capture the International Space Station as it graced the night sky over Leeds.
Tuesday the 14thof August was a great night for stargazing over Leeds, as we’ll my usual International Space Station (ISS) watching I’d been informed by fellow Astro Tweeter: Active Astronomy we were in for a bright Iridium Flare that night, commonly known as Satellite flare (also known as satellite glint) it’s a weird phenomenon caused by the reflective surfaces on satellites (such as antennas or solar panels) reflecting sunlight directly onto the Earth below and appearing as a brief, bright “flare”.
This nights satellite flare was from The Iridium Communication Satellite which have a peculiar shape with three polished door-sized antennas, 120° apart and at 40° angles within the main bulk of the satellite. These forward antenna face the direction the satellite is traveling. Occasionally, an antenna reflects sunlight directly down at Earth, creating a predictable and extremely quick-moving illuminated spot on the surface below of about 10 km diameter. To a star-gazer like me, this looks like a bright flash, or flare in the sky, with a duration of a few seconds.
This flare over Leeds that night was -7 magnitude flare, but they can range up to -8 magnitude (rarely to a brilliant -9.5), some of the flares are so bright that they can be seen in the daytime; but they are most impressive at night. These flashings can cause some aggravation to astronomers, as they can be mistaken for meteors over the Perseid Meteor season in August.
That night I also managed to capture both the ISS crossings over Leeds, one at 9.39pm which was a 6 minute fly-by, and the 11.15 3minute pass as well as the Iridium Flare which came at 11.18pm 18 degrees in the West, all of which ending a perfect night of stargazing for me.
I do love the lens flare in this shot from the garden lights, almost looks like one of the Red Moon’s of Tatooine.