The Perseids, and Tretkayok Occultation - Aug 12, 2010

On occultation of a 10.1 magnitude star by the asteroid Tretyakov occured on the night of the Perseids - a good opportunity to join friends at Karl's place high above the fog (hopefully), watch some meteors, maybe get some science done.

The marine layer this night did cooperate - barely. The fog stayed below Karl's, and the occultation occured at 12:11am about 35 degrees up in the southwest, conveniently visible from the parking area. I arrived, and Karl, Garth, and Kelly were watching the end of "Back to the Future", one of those classic films of the '80's. After the movie, we migrated out to my car, where I set up the 10" scope with f/3.3 reducer and the PC164cEX2 video camera. I had resuscitated the ZR45mc camcorder's ability to record, it seems. While assembling the scope and trying to locate the target star, we were treated with the most spectacular meteor of the night - a brilliant fireball of magnitude about -6 or -8, lighting up the ground and the sky, including the FOV of my telescope, pointed maybe 20 degrees away from the meteor's path. It had 3 separate explosions visible on the lingering trail, which lasted about 25 seconds before finally fading away.

You can't have a meteor shower without fresh, home-made popcorn. Virgin olive oil, not fax "butter" of course

Occultation recording gear.

During the shower, we critiqued movies, as Garth's buddy was a film major

The occultation target was acquired without trouble, and I recorded from 2 minutes before to 2 minutes after the predicted 4 second occultation. The odds of an event from here was a little less than 20%, as the rank=35 path had shifted north, nominally crossing San Francisco. I had a definite miss. The IOTA report is here.

Our view of the sky was good, but not perfect, and so meteor counts would've been tough to calibrate. So we just enjoyed the show, and let meteor science be happening elsewhere. Still, it was obvious that the counts rose as the radiant rose, till after 1am, when the radiant was high enough that perhaps the dropping zenithal hourly rates dominated, and it seemed the show was fading. By 3:30am, we were not getting enough meteor stimulation to keep us up, and I packed up and headed back down to Santa Cruz.