…continuedAdvanced Meteor Observing
Where, When, and How to Watch
Generally plan to start your meteor watch after midnight. That's when the night side of Earth faces in the direction in which it's moving around the Sun. The forward-facing side of Earth (after midnight) sweeps up more meteors than the trailing (before midnight) side.
Bring a reclining lawn chair to a good, dark site with an open view of the sky. No trees or buildings should intrude into your view except maybe at the very edges. If you came from a brightly lit house, give your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust to the dark. Settle in, look up, and relax. When you're ready to begin watching steadily, note the time to the nearest minute.
The simplest project is just to count the number of shower and non-shower meteors that you see. Watch the sky at least 50° up, and pick a direction away from the shower's radiant point. Keep your field of vision filled with sky. If obstructions do intrude they should block no more than 20 percent of your view, and you need to note the percent they cover. The same applies to clouds. Note the time whenever the amount of cloud obstruction changes, and if the total increases to more than 20 percent, take a break. When your data are reduced, an adjustment will be made for the fraction of your view that was blocked.
Once in a while a meteor will catch your eye. If its path, extended far enough backward, would cross the radiant point of the shower, note it as a shower meteor ("P" for Perseid, "L" for Leonid, and so on). You can note all other meteors simply as non-shower meteors (for example, "NP").