March 16-31 Meteors

March continues the “doldrum” season of meteor observing. With no major showers active and sporadic activity at a minimum, this time of the year sees the lowest meteor rates. April is also a bit dull though one major shower, the Lyrids, will spice things up for a few nights.

The second half of March did minor but consistent activity from two showers, the Eta Virginids (EVI) (discussed in a previous post) and the Zeta Serpentids (ZSE). The ZSE were produced by an unknown retrograde long-period comet with a perihelion near 0.99 AU from the Sun and inclination of 150º.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT GNO EVI XHE NVI ZSE
SAL  2014-03-31   10h 22m   15  11  2   -   0   -   -   2
SAL  2014-03-30   10h 00m   9   8   1   -   0   -   -   0
SAL  2014-03-29   10h 11m   17  16  0   -   1   -   -   0
SAL  2014-03-28   09h 51m   15  12  1   -   0   -   -   2
SAL  2014-03-27   09h 28m   6   5   1   -   0   -   -   0
SAL  2014-03-26   10h 31m   12  7   2   -   1   -   -   2
SAL  2014-03-25   09h 19m   19  16  1   -   0   -   -   2
SAL  2014-03-24   09h 51m   5   4   0   -   0   -   -   1
SAL  2014-03-23   10h 30m   21  14  4   -   1   -   -   2
SAL  2014-03-22   10h 40m   12  10  0   0   0   -   1   1
SAL  2014-03-21   08h 58m   7   5   1   0   0   -   1   0
SAL  2014-03-20   10h 30m   15  10  2   0   2   -   1   0
SAL  2014-03-19   10h 46m   6   4   2   0   0   -   0   0
SAL  2014-03-18   10h 48m   8   4   3   0   1   -   0   -
SAL  2014-03-17   10h 50m   6   5   0   0   1   0   0   -
SAL  2014-03-16   10h 52m   21  14  5   0   2   0   0   -

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
Time - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
GNO - Gamma Normids
EVI - Eta Virginids
XHE - x Herculids
NVI - Northern March Virginids
ZSE - Zeta Serpentids

Meteor Activity Outlook for April 5-11, 2014

The Meteor Activity Outlook for the period 2014 February 15-21 has been posted by Bob Lunsford on the American Meteor Society website.

The Outlook has details on meteors from the Antihelion region and the following showers: Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) and Delta Aquiliids (DAL).

March 3-15 Meteors

The start of the month saw quite a bit of clouds and some well needed rain. As a result, the first four nights of the month saw very few meteors sighted over Tucson. Since then the weather has been clearer and nightly totals have ranged between 7 and 21 meteors with 11-14 being the average for a clear night.

The period saw the end of the Northern Delta Leonids (NDL) and Delta Leonids (DLE). Neither shower produced much this year with only 5 NDL and 7 DLE meteors detected in total.

A few minor showers have started up since the start of the month. The Gamma Normids (GNO) have been known for decades and are the product of an unknown comet on a retrograde inclination orbit (~120-145°) and perihelion that is interior to Earth’s orbit. With a radiant deep in the southern sky, this shower is poorly observed from Tucson. Still 10 GNO have been seen with my set-up since late February.

The Eta Virginids (EVI) is another shower that has been known for awhile. These meteors are slow (29 km/s) and come from a very low-inclination (3°), small perihelion (0.3-0.4 AU) near-Earth asteroid or short-period comet orbit. Only 3 EVIs have been detected so far. Another meteor shower from Virgo, the Northern March Virginids (NVI) just became active on the night of the 15th. Like the EVIs, the NVIs are also from a low-inclination (3-4°), small perihelion (0.5-0.7 AU) near-Earth asteroid or short-period comet orbit.

Two additional minor showers are radiating from Hercules. Both the f Herculids (FHE) and x Herculids (XHE) were found as part of the IMO Meteor Video Network (the same network that this shower is a part of) a few years ago. Each shower produces relatively slow meteors (36-44 km/s). So far, only a single meteor from each shower has been detected.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT NDL DLE GNO EVI FHE XHE NVI
SAL  2014-03-15   10h 10m   21  19  0   -   -   1   0   -   1   0
SAL  2014-03-14   10h 08m   18  13  4   -   -   0   1   0   0   -
SAL  2014-03-13   09h 11m   10  7   2   -   -   1   0   0   0   -
SAL  2014-03-12   07h 47m   11  10  1   -   -   0   0   0   0   -
SAL  2014-03-11   08h 56m   12  8   2   -   0   2   0   0   0   -
SAL  2014-03-10   11h 04m   11  11  0   -   0   0   0   0   0   -
SAL  2014-03-09   11h 05m   14  12  0   -   1   0   1   0   -   -
SAL  2014-03-08   11h 08m   11  8   1   -   0   2   0   0   -   -
SAL  2014-03-07   10h 20m   20  19  1   -   0   0   0   0   -   -
SAL  2014-03-06   08h 47m   7   5   0   -   0   0   1   1   -   -
SAL  2014-03-05   11h 13m   14  12  1   -   0   0   0   0   -   -
SAL  2014-03-04   08h 38m   2   2   0   0   0   0   0   -   -   -
SAL  2014-03-03   05h 01m   1   1   0   0   0   0   0   -   -   -

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
Time - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
NDL - North Delta Leonids
DLE - Delta Leonids
GNO - Gamma Normids
EVI - Eta Virginids
FHE - f Herculids
XHE - x Herculids
NVI - Northern March Virginids

Meteor Activity Outlook for February 22-28, 2014

The Meteor Activity Outlook for the period 2014 February 15-21 has been posted by Bob Lunsford on the American Meteor Society website.

The Outlook has details on meteors from the Antihelion region and the following showers: Gamma Normids (GNO).

Feb 11-16 Meteors

February is usually a slow month for meteor watchers. Even though a surprisingly large number of meteor showers have been discovered in February over the past few years, all are minor and produce few meteors. With no major showers active and even the background rate of sporadic meteors (those showers not affiliated with any shower) near annual lows, February’s meteor rates are low. My observed numbers are even lower on most nights since this month has seen a large number of nights affected by high clouds.

My camera is set up to watch for four minor showers this week.

The North Delta Leonids (NDL) appear to be from a short-period comet with a perihelion of ~0.6 AU and inclination of ~5° resulting in a relatively slow velocity of ~20 km/s. It is possible that near-Earth asteroid 1999 RD32 is the parent of this family. RD32 is a large, dark object ~5 km in diameter and may be cometary in origin.

The Delta Serpentids (DSE) are from a longer period comet with a perihelion of ~1 au and inclination of ~130°. Comet C/1947 F2 (Becvar) is a possible source of these rapid (65 km/s) meteors.

The Beta Herculids (BHE) is a newly discovered shower discovered with data from the network that my camera is a part of. Orbits for the BHEs have not been determined yet though their velocity of ~57 km/s suggest a long-period comet origin. Even less is known about the Delta Leonids (DLE). With a velocity of 20 km/s these meteors are from a short-period comet or even a near-Earth asteroid.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT NDL DSE BHE DLE
SAL  2014-02-16   09h 53m   11  11  0   0   0   0   0
SAL  2014-02-15   11h 23m   22  18  0   1   1   1   1
SAL  2014-02-14   11h 43m   15  10  3   0   0   2   -
SAL  2014-02-13   11h 11m   11  5   1   1   4   0   -
SAL  2014-02-12   11h 52m   17  12  2   0   2   1   -
SAL  2014-02-11   11h 54m   10  9   1   0   -   -   -

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
Time - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
NDL - North Delta Leonids
DSE - Delta Serpentids
BHE - Beta Herculids
DLE - Delta Leonids

Jan 14/15/16 Meteors

The Moon is close to Full these days which is not helping with meteor detection. Still the nightly numbers of detections is similar to those of the past week so maybe the Moon isn’t being as big of a bother as expected.

Over the past three nights, the Earth was passing close to the orbit of now defunct comet C/2012 S1 (ISON). Only a single possibleISONid‘ was detected and the important word is ‘possible‘. The comet passed through this part of its orbit around 74 days ago so it is unlikely that much dust should still be in this part of its orbit. In future years, it is very possible that the dust will become more spread out (due to differences in their orbital period which do to various effects will be substantially smaller than that of the main comet) and a annual, though weak, ISONid shower will be visible.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT COM DLM NCC XCB ISO
SAL  2014-01-16   11h 48m   23  15  3   2   2   0   0   0
SAL  2014-01-15   12h 11m   18  10  5   0   2   0   0   1

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
Time - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
COM - Coma Berenicids
DLM - December Leonis Minorids
ISO - ISONids
NCC - Northern Delta Cancrids
XCB - Xi Coronae Borealids
XUM - January Xi Ursae Majorids

Jan 10/11/12 Meteors

The most active minor meteor shower during the nights of Jan 10/11 and 11/12 was the December Leo Minorids (DLM). The DLM is one of many showers that seem to be active this time of the year in Leo, Leo Minor and nearby constellations. There is even some debate as to whether the DLM is a real shower or just a part of a continuum of showers.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT COM DLM NCC XCB
SAL  2014-01-11   12h 34m   25  19  3   0   3   0   0
SAL  2014-01-12   12h 33m   27  19  3   1   3   0   0

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
Time - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
COM - Coma Berenicids
DLM - December Leonis Minorids
NCC - Northern Delta Cancrids
XCB - Xi Corona Borealids

Jan 6/7/8 Meteors

The night of Jan 6/7 was nice and clear producing 32 detections. Though the next night was plagued with cirrus it did see some nice activity from the December Leonis Minorids (DLM). Though only 14 meteors were seen, four of them were DLMs. Too bad the night wasn’t clearer to see if any more fainter DLMs would have been seen.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AHY COM DLM
SAL  2014-01-07   12h 12m   32  30  1   0   1   0 
SAL  2014-01-08    6h 51m   14  9   1   0   0   4   

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
Time - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
AHY - Alpha Hydrids
COM - Coma Berenicids
DLM - December Leonis Minorids

Jan 5/6 Meteors

Now that’s more like it. After two straight nights with cirrus, a clear night once again produced a larger number of detections. (And yes I know I shouldn’t complain about a few nights of cirrus when much of the US and Canada is undergoing a deep freeze).

The short window to see Quadrantids has already closed and this shower is done for the year. Still the other minor showers and Sporadics produced 30 detections.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AHY COM DLM JLE
SAL  2014-01-06   12h 38m   30  26  1   2   1   1   0 

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
Time - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
AHY - Alpha Hydrids
COM - Coma Berenicids
DLM - December Leonis Minorids
JLE - January Leonids
QUA - Quadrantids

Jan 3/4/5 Meteors

The last two nights have been hampered by high cirrus in southern Arizona. As a result, meteor rates were suppressed. It also doesn’t help that last week’s major shower, the Quadrantids, has come and gone and none of the established meteor showers are showing much activity. Hopefully more will be picked up tonight since there are no clouds in the forecast.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AHY COM DLM JLE QUA
SAL  2014-01-04   12h 38m   11  8   1   0   1   0   0   1
SAL  2014-01-05   12h 33m   16  13  2   0   0   0   0   1

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
Time - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
AHY - Alpha Hydrids
COM - Coma Berenicids
DLM - December Leonis Minorids
JLE - January Leonids
QUA - Quadrantids
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