Jordan Rajsdahl’s recording lasted 27 seconds. The annual phenomenon lasts until August 24, and its peak is expected on August 13 during the next full moon.
BOISE, Idaho – The Perseid meteor shower returned in full galactic glory on Sunday. This is the time of year when Earth passed through a trail of dust left by Comet Swift-Tuttle.
Basically, our crop has been dusted by an ancient comet, and every year, barring excess light pollution, plenty of local astronomers and amateur stargazers try to catch a glimpse of this dust, which we’ll only see as it enters our atmosphere as meteors.
Jordan Ragsdahl of Eagle has seen a lot of them. Over the past year or so, he’s recorded countless meteors on his outdoor camera – some days as little as 20 – some days as many as 500.
Well, early Wednesday morning, just after 5 a.m., Ragsdale caught more than one glimpse of a meteorite, which he said was the longest he had ever recorded and possibly the longest ever.
“This just popped up, because it happened across multiple cameras and any time it happened, it was always like, ‘Oh, that was a long-traveling meteor. It’s unusual for him to go so far, to go from one camera angle to another, and as I looked over, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s four camera angles,’ you know, said Rajsdahl. “Not only that, but it kind of started on the northern horizon and then I didn’t see it until it ended behind the southern horizon. It went behind a tree before I saw it.”
The 27 seconds are “unusual” for a meteor, said Rajsdahl, because most of the time, meteorites burn up in the atmosphere.
“They call it the Earth’s shepherd, and it kind of scratches the Earth. They even predicted that some of them would go out of the atmosphere,” said Rajsdahl. “It’ll only light up a little bit and that’s enough resistance that it’s going to send it up and out of the atmosphere, but it looks like he had the perfect angle he just passed.”
Ragsdal put his camera on the side of his house. He said the camera usually captures all the meteors that pass through it.
“I usually review them over a cup of coffee in the morning, because you can go through them and most of them are just very small pictures, but every now and then they jump up at you very brightly,” Rajsdahl. “You know, if you get one that’s really bright, it’s sexy, or really tall, so it’s a bit like a treasure hunt. You never know what you’re going to find in the morning, so it’s a little treat as you have your coffee every morning.”
Rajsdal said his camera is connected to a network of hundreds of such cameras that send their videos to a central database.
There’s another one at Glens Ferry, and they’re compiling the video to see if the meteorite they captured is actually one of the longest ever recorded, said Rajsdahl.
The video was sent to NASA to see if it was in fact a meteorite and part of the Perseid meteor shower.
The annual phenomenon lasts until August 24, and its peak is expected on August 13. This is the time when we should see the most meteors burning in the sky. “You must see” is the key phrase here, because that night – August 13 – coincided with the next full moon.
The Sturgeon Moon, according to NASA, will appear full for about three days from Wednesday morning through Saturday morning. These meteors should burn brighter than moonlight, so seeing them shouldn’t be much of an issue.