August 11-20 Meteors

The Perseids peaked on the night of August 13 UT. Though the monsoon was still cranking and clouds were aplenty, 36 PER were detectedby the SALSA3 camera system.

Visual reports to the IMO show a peak ZHR of ~68. This is the true rate of the shower after correcting for the effects of the Moon-lit sky and the height of the radiant. Since 2007 the peak ZHR of the PERZ have ranged from 58 to as high as 180. 2014′s ZHR of 68 is the 2nd lowest of the past 8 years.

per2014overview

ZHR Live chart for the 2014 Persieds. Credit: International Meteor Organization.

Obs Date(UT)    Time   TOT SPO ANT CAP PER SDA ERI ATR KCG BAR MPR UCE
SAL 2014-08-20 07h 07m  25  17  3   -   3   1   -   1   0   -   -   0
SAL 2014-08-19 00h 36m  2   1   1   -   0   0   -   0   0   -   -   0
SAL 2014-08-18 03h 23m  4   2   1   -   0   0   0   0   1   -   -   0
SAL 2014-08-17 02h 22m  7   5   1   -   1   0   0   0   0   -   0   0
SAL 2014-08-16 04h 43m  16  8   1   -   4   0   0   1   1   -   1   -
SAL 2014-08-15 01h 12m  4   1   0   -   2   0   0   0   1   -   0   -
SAL 2014-08-14 07h 27m  42  9   4   -   20  0   0   1   4   -   3   -
SAL 2014-08-13 03h 10m  40  1   0   -   36  0   2   0   0   -   1   -
SAL 2014-08-12 02h 18m  22  2   1   0   16  1   0   1   0   1   0   -
SAL 2014-08-11 02h 12m  16  3   0   1   8   0   0   1   1   1   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
CAP - Alpha Capricornids
PER - Perseids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
ERI - Eta Eridanids
ATR - Alpha Triangulids
KCG - Kappa Cygnids
BAR - Beta Arietids
MPR - Mu Perseids
UCE - Upsilon Cetids

August 9-10 Meteors

The past two nights have been a mix of meteor showers and rain showers. Luckily the sky has been clear enough, long enough to still catch one or two dozen meteors per night. Even with the patchy coverage, you can see that the Perseids are the most active shower. Visual observers for the IMO are reporting ZHRs between 20-35. Rates should reach between 60-120 by the middle of the week. Over the past few years the Perseids have peaked at ZHRs of 109 (2013), 90-120 (2012), 58 (2011), 91 (2010), 140-180 (2009), 116 (2008), and 93 (2007). We’ll have to wait and watch to see what this year’s Perseids have in store though the nearly Full Moon will hamper the number of Perseids that can be seen.

The Perseids (PER) will peak on Wednesday¬†morning August 13 UT. Bob Lunsford as written an excellent guide on how to observe this year’s Perseids for the American Meteor Society here.

 

Obs Date(UT)    Time   TOT SPO ANT CAP PAU PER SDA SIA ERI ATR KCG BAR MPR
SAL 2014-08-10 04h 55m  23  7   0   2   1   9   0   -   2   1   1   0   0
SAL 2014-08-09 03h 15m  13  4   1   1   0   4   1   0   0   0   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
CAP - Alpha Capricornids
PAU - Piscis Austrinids
PER - Perseids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
SIA - Southern Iota Aquariids
ERI - Eta Eridanids
ATR - Alpha Triangulids
KCG - Kappa Cygnids
BAR - Beta Arietids
MPR - Mu Perseids

August 8 meteors

Yet another good night of meteor watching by the SALSA3 video system. Meteor totals increased by 2 to 47 over the previous night. Though the number of Southern Delta Aquariids (SDA) dropped from 7 to 2, the Perseids (PER) continue their steady climb to next week’s peak as their nightly number increased from 17 to 25.

The system also started monitoring a new meteor shower, the Mu Perseids (MPR). Though the MPR are located close to the radiant of the major PER shower (and it is possible that these are PER that were misidentified by the MetRec software), they have different orbits from the PER. The shower was only recognized in 2012 by Japanese video meteor watchers.

The best meteor of the night was this Perseid from 10:30 UT.

055119

Obs Date(UT)    Time   TOT SPO ANT CAP PAU PER SDA SIA ERI ATR KCG BAR MPR
SAL 2014-08-08 08h 54m  47  14  1   0   1   25  2   0   0   0   1   1   2

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
CAP - Alpha Capricornids
PAU - Piscis Austrinids
PER - Perseids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
SIA - Southern Iota Aquariids
ERI - Eta Eridanids
ATR - Alpha Triangulids
KCG - Kappa Cygnids
BAR - Beta Arietids
MPR - Mu Perseids

Aug 6 Meteors

That’s more like it. With the software timing issue fixed (it was shutting down my system a good 2-3 hours prior to dawn), my nightly total jumped from ~20 to 45 meteors. The higher number really highlights how the last 2-3 hours of the night is best for meteor watching.

Two showers account for 24 of the 45 meteors. The Southern Delta Aquariids peaked a week ago but are still producing a good number of meteors. The Perseids are the main shower visible right now. They are building towards a peak on the night of August 12/13. According to visual reports submitted to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), the Perseids are already producing ZHR rates of ~20 per hour. [Note, that ZHRs are idealized rates for perfect observing circumstances. Most observers will see lower rates in the 5-10 per hour range.] On the night of the peak, ZHRs may reach ~60-150 per hour though a very bright near Full Moon will greatly decrease the rates actually seen.

Obs Date(UT)    Time   TOT SPO ANT CAP PAU PER SDA SIA ERI ATR KCG BAR
SAL 2014-08-07 09h 06m  45  12  2   1   0   17  7   2   2   1   1   0
                  also no PPS or SIA were seen over the 3 nights

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
CAP - Alpha Capricornids
PAU - Piscis Austrinids
PER - Perseids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
SIA - Southern Iota Aquariids
ERI - Eta Eridanids
ATR - Alpha Triangulids
KCG - Kappa Cygnids
BAR - Beta Arietids

July 31 – Aug 5 Meteors

The monsoon wiped out the first three night of August. Happily, these clouds did bring a bit of rain.

The nights of August 4-6 UT were very disappointing for my meteor detection network. Early August is a busy time for meteor watching with the Perseids (PER) ramping up and the various Aquarius (SDA,SIA)/Capricornus (CAP) showers still producing. I fully expected to be detecting many 10s of meteors per night rather than the lowly 20-21. At that rate, I wasn’t detecting any more meteors than back in late June.

Turns out it was a bit of an upgrade issue. The night of July 31 saw me using the newest version of MetRec (the automatic meteor detection software I use). At first I thought my camera was on its last legs as these cameras are known to loss sensitivity with time. As it turns out, one of the configuration files for MetRec got confused resulting in the software shutting down 2-3 hours before dawn. Since the last hours of the night see the highest meteor rates, it really put a dent in detections. As of August 7 UT, the problem has been fixed.

Obs Date(UT)    Time   TOT SPO ANT CAP JPE PAU PER SDA ERI ATR BCA KCG BAR
SAL 2014-08-06 06h 20m  20  9   2   0   -   1   3   3   0   1   -   0   1
SAL 2014-08-05 06h 27m  20  8   2   2   0   0   1   2   0   2   1   2   -
SAL 2014-08-04 06h 06m  21  10  0   1   1   1   2   3   0   0   0   -   -
SAL 2014-08-03 00h 00m             Clouds/rain all night
SAL 2014-08-02 00h 00m             Clouds/rain all night
SAL 2014-08-01 00h 00m             Clouds/rain all night
SAL 2014-07-31 03h 35m  10  5   0   0   0   0   3   2   0   0   0   -   -
                  also no PPS or SIA were seen over the 3 nights

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
PPS - Phi Piscids
CAP - Alpha Capricornids
JPE - July Pegasids
PAU - Piscis Austrinids
PER - Perseids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
SIA - Southern Iota Aquariids
ERI - Eta Eridanids
ATR - Alpha Triangulids
BCA - Beta Cassiopeiids
KCG - Kappa Cygnids
BAR - Beta Arietids

July 26-30 Meteors

The past 2 nights has seen quite a bit of meteor activity. Last night, in particular, was the peak of the Southern Delta Aquariids (SDA). Though its peak rates are only a fraction of what major showers like the Perseids (PER ) and Geminids (GEM) produce, the SDA still accounted for nearly a third of all meteors detected by my camera last night. Also a larger percentage of last night’s meteors were bright with a few coming close to fireball status.

This time of year a number of other showers are very active in the Aquarius/Capricornus/Pegasus area. Though not as active as the SDA, consistent low levels of activity have been seen from the Alpha Capricornids (CAP) and the July Pegasids (JPE). Even the Piscis Austrinids (PAU) got in the act last night with 2 detections. The Southern Iota Aquariids (SIA) seem to be MIA so far.

Next month’s big shower, the Perseids (PER), are ramping up. Even 2 weeks out, they are producing 1-2 meteors per night for my camera. Their activity should continue to increase as we approach their August 12/13 peak.

Obs Date(UT)    Time   TOT SPO ANT PPS CAP JPE PAU PER SDA ERI MUL GDR
SAL 2014-07-30 05h 45m  25  11  1   0   1   1   2   1   7   1   -   0
SAL 2014-07-29 07h 30m  24  10  2   1   1   1   0   2   1   1   2   3
SAL 2014-07-28 00h 00m             Clouds/rain all night
SAL 2014-07-27 00h 00m             Clouds/rain all night
SAL 2014-07-26 05h 09m   8  5   0   0   0   0   0   1   2   0   0   0
                  also no ZED, SIA, ATR or BCA were seen over the 3 nights

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
PPS - Phi Piscids
CAP - Alpha Capricornids
JPE - July Pegasids
PAU - Piscis Austrinids
PER - Perseids
ZED - July Zeta Draconids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
SIA - Southern Iota Aquariids
ERI - Eta Eridanids
MUL - Mu Lyrids
GDR - July Gamma Draconids
ATR - Alpha Triangulids
BCA - Beta Cassiopeiids

July 24-25 Meteors

The monsoon has been on hiatus here in Tucson and finally we had two relatively clear nights. There were still a few clouds and last night was very murky with lots of dust coming up from Sonora thanks to a strong Gulf of California surge. (If you’re interested, the Madweather blog is a great source for understanding the weather in southeastern Arizona.)

The Southern Delta Aquariids and Alpha Capricornids are the most active showers. A handful of meteors was also seen from the Perseids radiant though they might also be Psi Cassiopeiids as mention in the previous post.

The monsoon moisture has raced back into Tucson today so tonight will probably involve more battles with the weather.

 

Obs Date(UT)    Time   TOT SPO ANT PPS SCA CAP JPE PAU PER ZED SDA SIA ERI
SAL 2014-07-25 05h 45m  16  6   0   0   -   2   1   0   0   1   4   0   0
SAL 2014-07-24 07h 30m  19  9   0   0   2   3   0   0   3   1   0   0   1
                           also no MUL or GDR were seen over the 2 nights

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
PPS - Phi Piscids
SCA - Sigma Capricornids
CAP - Alpha Capricornids
JPE - July Pegasids
PAU - Piscis Austrinids
PER - Perseids
ZED - July Zeta Draconids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
SIA - Southern Iota Aquariids
ERI - Eta Eridanids
MUL - Mu Lyrids
GDR - July Gamma Draconids
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