Late April Meteors

April 22 marked the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower. The Lyrids are considered a major shower though, in reality, they are the weakest of the major showers. You might even be able to call them the strongest minor shower.

The Lyrids were produced by comet C/1861 G1 (Thatcher), a comet seen only in 1861. It is a high inclination (~80º) long-period comet with a period of ~400 years. The shower is also prone to outbursts though none was predicted for or reported this year. On the April 22 UT, a total of 21 Lyrids were observed. The star chart below shows the radiant of the Lyrids halfway between Lyra and the keystone of Hercules.

2014Apr22_Lyrids

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Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT SLE PPU LYR ETA
SAL  2014-04-30   09h 13m   16  12  1   -   -   -   3
SAL  2014-04-29   09h 23m   13  11  2   -   -   -   0
SAL  2014-04-28   09h 09m   12  10  1   -   0   -   1
SAL  2014-04-27   09h 01m   16  13  2   -   0   -   1
SAL  2014-04-26   08h 03m   6   4   0   2   0   -   0
SAL  2014-04-25   09h 07m   12  10  2   0   0   0   0
SAL  2014-04-24   08h 15m   11  8   1   0   0   2   0
SAL  2014-04-23   07h 39m   15  8   1   2   0   4   0
SAL  2014-04-22   09h 08m   30  8   1   0   0   21  0
SAL  2014-04-21   09h 12m   14  9   1   1   0   3   0
SAL  2014-04-20   07h 54m   15  13  0   1   0   1   0
SAL  2014-04-19   06h 19m   5   4   0   0   0   1   0
SAL  2014-04-18   00h 00m    "Clouds All Night"
SAL  2014-04-17   08h 23m   11  7   2   1   0   1   -
SAL  2014-04-16   09h 49m   17  13  3   1   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 - AntihelionsZSE - Zeta Serpentids
SLE - Sigma Leonids
PPU - Pi Puppids
LYR - Lyrids
ETA - Eta Aquariids

Early April Meteors

It has been awhile since I last posted. Even though I’ve been quiet, my meteor camera has been running almost every night (though I did forget to turn it on one night :) ).

Early April continues a period of no active major showers. The period does contain many active minor showers. Though most produce little activity, the Sigma Leonids (SLE) showed a consistent level of low activity through out early and late April. The SLEs are on a low inclination Jupiter-family comet or near-Earth asteroid orbit.

My next post will present the meteors from late April when we’ll see some activity from a major shower.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT ZSE ZCY LVI DAL SLE PPU
SAL  2014-04-15   09h 37m   9   9   0   -   -   -   0   0   0
SAL  2014-04-14   09h 44m   14  11  2   -   -   -   0   1   -
SAL  2014-04-13   09h 21m   10  7   0   -   -   0   0   3   -
SAL  2014-04-12   00h 42m   1   1   0   -   -   0   0   0   -
SAL  2014-04-11   03h 29m   2   2   0   -   0   0   0   0   -
SAL  2014-04-10   09h 37m   8   5   2   -   0   0   1   0   -
SAL  2014-04-09   09h 27m   11  8   1   -   0   0   0   2   -
SAL  2014-04-08   09h 02m   11  9   0   -   0   1   0   1   -
SAL  2014-04-07   09h 46m   16  16  0   -   0   0   0   -   -
SAL  2014-04-06   09h 44m   13  9   3   -   1   0   0   -   -
SAL  2014-04-05   10h 02m   7   5   1   -   1   0   -   -   -
SAL  2014-04-04   09h 55m   10  5   3   -   0   2   -   -   -
SAL  2014-04-03   09h 33m   11  10  1   0   0   -   -   -   -
SAL  2014-04-02   09h 29m   14  14  0   0   0   -   -   -   -
SAL  2014-04-01   00h 00m       "FORGOT to TURN on CAMERA"

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 - AntihelionsZSE - Zeta Serpentids
ZCY - Zeta Cygnids
LVI - Lambda Virginids
DAL - Delta Aquiliids
SLE - Sigma Leonids
PPU - Pi Puppids

Meteor Shower Activity for May 10-16, 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: Eta Aquariids (ETA), Eta Lyrids (ELY) and Theta 2 Sagittariids (TTS).

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

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
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