In the period from 3 to 16 August, I stayed with a number of DMS observers and friends in the southern French village of Revest du Bion (44 03'32 "North and 05 33'08" East). This to observe the Perseids visually, photographically, and with two CAMS systems. Peter van Leuteren, Casper ter Kuile and Sietse Dijkstra were the co observers. In the village of La Blache stayed Klaas Jobse, also with two CAMS systems to set up simultaneous observations with the CAMS systems.
Besides the meteor observations there was also done much astrophotography, particularly by Casper.
Our location was a rented gite 3 km south of Revest du Bion. It has a very big garden with an open field with good views in all directions.
The whole period in the Provence is characterized by extremely sunny and clear weather. What we also noticed was that the nights were very humid and cool, but fortunately without the associated fog or low clouds.
Picture 1: Casper's Chevrolet Voyager full with equipment, luggage and two bikes on a bike rack.
Picture 2: After a long day of heat, asfalt and "baustelles" finally a good meal at Britzingen. V.l.t.r.: Peter van Leuteren, Casper ter Kuile and Klaas Jobse.
Picture 3: File in the French Alps....
Picture 4: Beware of Santa Claus....
My visual results of the Perseïds 2013.
3/4 August 2013
In the evening and the later on in the night cirrus clouds. In the period from 21:58 to 23:30 UT the sky was clear without cirrus so I could observe 1.53 hours. It yielded 25 meteors of which were 9 PER, 1 SDA and 15 SPO.
4/5 August 2013
Nice observing session between 23:48 to 03:00 UT. The limiting magnitude increased to 6.6. In t.eff 3.20 hours I observed 105 meteors, amongst them 43 PER, 3 SDA, 3 CAP,1 KCG and 2 ANT.
5/6 August, 2013
A rather messy night. Occasionally we had to stop because of extensive fields of cirrus. Peter and I observed between 21:48 to 03:00 UT with a maximum lm of 6.6. The final total score for me were 42 PER, 4 SDA, 2 KCG and 47 SPO (a total of 95 meteors). A -3 SPO with a 4 second persistent train was the beautiful highlight at the end of the night.
6/7 August 2013.
Mostly cloudy night. Only by morning a short clear period. Between 02:04 and 02:38 UT I could observe and that yielded only 13 meteors (4 PER and 9 SPO). After this period, we saw a nice thunderstorm at 30 km to the northwest of our location, moving over the famous Mont Ventoux with some nice CG's. Peter took beautiful pictures of it.
Picture 5: the living room of our Gite. Two Astrotrac mounts, a Polarie and an EQ5 mount.
Picture 6: Every night the all sky camera of Peter took pictures of the night sky.
Picture 7: Astrotrac Travel System of me in the garden of our Gite.
7/8 August 2013
All day and night a coming and going of (sometimes heavy) thunderstorms. During a thunderstorm at day we did see (and filmed) clearly rotation of (scud) clouds.
8/9 August 2013
A very bright but humid night. In no time all equipment soaked. Limiting magnitude increased to 6.7. I logged meteors between 20:57 and 03:10 UT. This resulted in 5.17 hours effective observing time yielding 168 meteors, of which were 69 PER, 9 SDA, 1 CAP, 1 KCG, 1 ANT and 87 SPO.
Pictures 10, 11, 12: Today I took a walk (with Peter) in the surroundings of Revest du Bion. Here some pictures.
9/10 August 2013
The only dry night, thanks to a weak mistral from the north. This wind often creates crisp and very clear sky's. Indeed! The limiting magnitude increased to 6.8 and delivered beautiful sights of example, the richly textured milky way, deep sky objects such as M33 and the North America nebula easely visible to the naked eye! Also the zodiacal light was clearly visible.
Between 20:57 and 03:10 UT I counted in 5.75 hours 238 meteors of which 128 PER, 7 SDA, 3 CAP3, 4 KCG,1 ANT and 95 SPO. The most beautiful meteor was a -4 Perseid.
Picture 13: Composition of photographed meteors during the night 9/10-8-2013, taken with a Canon EOS 40D and a Canon EF 15 mm F 2.8 lens (1600 iso, F 3.2). Mount: Vixen Polarie on a Manfrotto tripod. Click on the image for a larger version.
Picture 14: Compostion of photographed meteors during the night 9/10-8-2013. Images taken with a Canon EOS 40D, Canon EF 15 mm F 2.8 lens (ISO 1600, F 3.2). On this image are visible the International Space Station, 2 kappa Cygnids and 2 Perseids.
Mount: Vixen Polarie on a Manfrotto tripod. Click on the image for a larger version.
Picture 15: Canon EOS 40D, Canon EF 15 mm F 2.8 lens on a Vixen Polarie Travel mounty. Here it is used to make time lapse movies.
10/11 August 2013
At day we traveled to Avignon to pick up Sietse Dijkstra. He was traveling from the Netherlands with a high speed train (Thalys). After that we made a short visit to the beautiful old center of Avignon.
The sky was slightly less bright than the previous night, limiting magnitude up to 6.7. Between 20:33 and 03:10 UT I observed during 6.23 hours 261 meteors of which 153 PER, 8 SDA, 2 CAP 12 KCG (!) and 86 SPO. About the KCG's, these were seen more than usual in similar nights. In 1993 and 2007 they were considerably more active with regular bright fireballs. This years KCG activity was more comparable to 1985 when I also counted more than normal numbers of KCG's, but then I observed no fireballs. The brightest KCG of this night were a pair of magnitude 0 and +1. A number of bright meteors was also observed from the apex region and I may have also seen some eta Eridanids. These were often bright meteors with long duration persistent trails. These meteors are inclued in the numbers of sporadic meteors .
The Perseids hourly counts amounted to 30-35 per hour at dawn. A -3 and a -4 Perseid were the most beautiful meteors this night with long duration persistent trains.
11/12 August 2013
Again a crisp night, limiting magnitude rose to 6.8. Between 20:17 and 03:15 UT I logged in 6.58 hours 419 meteors of which were 316 PER, 6 SDA, 3 CAP, 7 KCG and 87 SPO. The Perseids hourly counts rose up to 80 to 90 an hour. Many Perseids were weak, as expected. The beautiful ones were a pair of magnitude -4 Perseids. The KCG's were still active. In the first hour I observed a couple of beautiful Perseid earthgrazers.
Picture 16: Composition of meteors I captured during the night of 11/12-8-2013. Camera: Canon EOS 40D. Lens: Canon EF 35 mm F 1.4 USM. Mount: Astrotrac Travel System. Ten Perseids and two sporadic meteors are visible. Click on the image for a larger version.
Picture 17: Due to a failure of my lens heating it was not possible to make a compostion from the second Canon EOS 40D with the Canon EF 15 mm EF 2.8 lens. Mount: Vixen Polarie on a Manfrotto tripod.
At daytime the weather changed. The famous deep blue sky was more like milky/blue. In the Pyrenees heavy thunderstorms were active and the ice sheets (cirrus clouds) of these storms moved in our direction. Indeed, in the evening we had some troubles with cirrus, but after 23 UT they disappeared.
The moon lighted the sky a bit in the evening. This all resulted in a lower lm of 6.5. But that does not stop the meteors from appearing! During 6.18 hours of netto observing time I logged 371 PER, 3 SDA, 4 CAP, 8 KCG, 2 ANT and 81 SPO. A total of 469 meteors! Many bright stuff to, I counted 2Perseids of magnitude -5, two Perseids of magnitude -4 and six Perseids of -3!
The Perseid counts went up to 80 to 90 meteors an hour at dawn. That means that the ZHR was higher than in previous night. The hourly counts were the same as previous night but the limiting magnitude was much lower this night. As written above, it was 6.5 compared to the 6.8 in the previous night (11/12-8-2013).
This night was also special for me, I counted my 70 000nd meteor since I started meteor observations in 1978;-)!
Picture 18 and 19: Our rented house at Revest du Bion.
Picture 20: Composition of meteors captured with a Canon EOS 40D and a canon EF 15 mm F 2.8 fish eye lens. Mount: Vixen Polarie. Click on the image for a larger version.
Picture 21: Composition of Perseids I captured during the first 3 hours of the night. The brown sky color is due to the combination of thin cirrus clouds and light pollution. Click on the image for a larger version. Camera: Canon EOS 40D. Lens: Canon EF 35 mm F 1.4 L USM.
Picture 22: Composition af most meteors I captured in the second part of the night 12/13-8-2013. Camera; Canon EOS 40D. Lens: Canon EF 35 mm F 1.4 L USM. There are some nice deep sky objects visible on this image: below the Pleiades (an open starcluster with emission nebula, the double starcluster x&h Persei (above) and the California nebula. Click on the image for a larger version.
This night a weak coldfront passed the Provence. It resulted in a period with cirrus and middle high clouds. In the evening I was able to observe the moonlit sky for an hour (between 20:10 and 21:10 UT, when the cloudcover was to high). This period yielded 8 PER and 1 SPO. Amongst them two beautiful earth grazers.
Picture 23: Evening session of 13 august 2013. Me observing from the sunbed. The Perseid in the picture below Cassiopeia, I saw visually and almost immediately after I started the observations. Click on the image for a larger version.
Between 21:10 and 00:32 UT it was mostly cloudy, then it cleared slowly from the northwest. The lm rose to 6.7. Between 00:32 and 02:45 UT I could observe under mostly good condtions. Perseid hourly counts up to 32. In total, I counted 103 PER, 1 CAP, 4 KCG and 30 SPO during 3.18 hours effective (in total 138 meteors). A -3 Perseid was the highlight of the night.
Picture 24: After the first session there was much cirrus clouds in the sky. The camera still runs and captured this nice ISS passage. Click on the image for a larger version.
Picture 25: Startrails image made of images taken on the morning of 15 august 2013.
In the evening more moonlight. The lm was 6.6. I observed for 4.27 hours and counted 137 meteors, of which 84 PER, 1 CAP, 4 KCG and 48 SPO. Two Perseids of -4 were the most bright meteors.
Picture 26: Peter is preparing his famous startrails image!
Picture 27: Startrails all sky image of the moonlit sky of 14 august 2013, taken with a Canon 40D and a Sigma ET-X4.5 mm fish eye lens. Click on the image for a larger version.
Picture 28: Startrails image of 14/15 august 2013. Same camera and lens as in previous image. Click on the image of a larger version.
Picture 29: making a time lapse movie with a beautiful old wooden handcart. Click on the image for a larger version.
Picture 30: Photo of the time lapse setup consisting of a Manfrotto tripod, a Vixen Polarie, a Canon EOS 40D, a Canon EF 15mm F2.8 fish eye lens, a Canon TC 80N3 Timer Controller and a dew ribbon. This worked fine! Click on the image for a larger version.
Picture 31: Composition of an ISS passage on August 14, 2013 taken with the setup as seen in pictures 29 and 30. Click on the image for a larger version.
The last night at Revest du Bion. Between 00:15 and 02:15 UT I logged58 meteors which 35 PER, 1 CAP, 1 KCG , 2 ANT 19 SPO (a total of 58 meteors) The most beautiful meteor was a Perseid of -3.
In total this campaign I could observe during 47.94 hours. It resulted in data of 1357 PER, 41 SDA, 19 CAP, 44 KCG, 8 ANT and 657 SPO. 20 of these meteors were of magnitude -3 to -5. Very bright fireballs were not seen. All my data is available at the IMO website.
CAMS results Revest du Bion/La Blache.
Picture 32: Laptops for both CAMS cameras (300 and 301). They were set up in an empty closet in the storeroom of our rented cottage. There it was at day or night about 24 degrees.
Picture 33: The two CAMS cameras ready for action!
Besides the huge bulk of visual meteors (Peter counted a total of 1700 meteors and Sietse counted hundreds of meteors) also the CAMS cameras were very successful: they recorded 550 simultaneous meteors.