Seen a shooting star? Want someone to tell? There are people waiting for your reports.
As we get well into the Perseid meteor shower, the hourly rates are heating up. Visual meteor hourly rates probably ranks as one of the oldest citizen sciences, with the calculations based on anyone standing outside and counting meteors, before sending in their reports. The national astronomical societies, the SPA and the BAA, have meteor watching divisions and there is an International Meteor Organisation as well.
During the peak period of the Perseids, the 11th-14th of August (peak on the night of the 12th/13th), there will be a twitter meteorwatch. But reports for the meteorwatch are coming in already. Casual observers who happen to see a meteor or two can tweet their location and meteor number in the format “#meteorwatch [first part of postcode] [country] [number of meteors]” in order for the observation to be recorded on the official meteorwatch map. More diligent observers can download a meteor report form from here.
A graph of visual meteor rates as recorded by observers across the globe can be seen on the IMO site here. As you can see, the rate at the time of writing had already headed above the teens and we’re more than a few days off the peak time.
And if the solar system coming to a sky near you isn’t enough, don’t forget Kendal’s Solar System Scale model on the 14th of August, though despite reports on the Westmorland Gazette website, we’re not starting at 12am, but 12 noon… somehow I don’t think the intended work with the solar telescope would go well that early on. We finish at 4pm. Just in time for some dinner and preparations for the last night of the meteorwatch.