Dec 30/31 Meteors and 2 comets

This morning I ventured out to observe comets C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) and C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) with 10×50 binoculars. Under a magnitude 6.0-6.2 sky, Lovejoy was easy to see as usual. Highly condensed with a slightly bluish-green 6′ coma, the comet also showed a faint ~1° long tail. I estimated it at magnitude 6.1. LINEAR was harder to see at magnitude 8.5 with a 5′ coma and no detectable tail.

I also observed both comets two nights ago with the Sierra Stars 0.61-m telescope in California.

Comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) on 2013 Dec 30.xx with the Sierra Stars 0.61-m. Credit: Carl Hergenrother.

Comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) on 2013 Dec 30.57 with the Sierra Stars 0.61-m. Credit: Carl Hergenrother.

Comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR)

Comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) on 2013 Dec 30.57 with the Sierra Stars 0.61-m. Credit: Carl Hergenrother.

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The meteors were also active last night. A total of 23 were detected by the SALSA4 camera system.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AHY COM DLM DSV
SAL  2013-12-31   12h 20m   23  19  2   2   0   0   0 

SAL - SALSA4 camera in 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
DSV - December Sigma Virginids

Dec 29/30 Meteors

Last night brought in a nice haul of 34 meteors. As usual most were of the Sporadic variety and not affiliated with any (known) meteor shower. In two nights, the Quadrantid shower will start and we will see a rapid rise in rates towards the end of the week.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AHY COM DLM DSV
SAL  2013-12-30   12h 11m   34  28  2   0   3   0   0 

SAL - SALSA3 camera in 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
DSV - December Sigma Virginids

Dec 28/29 Meteors

As forecast, high clouds were a problem last night. Only 10 meteors were detected, all of which were sporadics.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AHY COM DLM DSV
SAL  2013-12-29   09h 00m   10  10  0   0   0   0   0 

SAL - SALSA3 camera in 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
DSV - December Sigma Virginids

Meteor Activity Outlook for December 28, 2013-January 3, 2014

The Meteor Activity Outlook for the period 2013 December 28 to 2014 January 3 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: Quadrantids, Alpha Hydrids, January Leonids, December Leonis Minorids, Coma Berenicids, December Sigma Virginids.

Dec 27/28 Meteors

Another crystal clear night here in southern Arizona. Our week of clear night skies will come to an end tonight as a batch of cirrus moves through the region. Tonight’s clouds will undoubtably reduce the number of meteors detected though the bright ones should still shine through.

Last night saw 21 detections which isn’t bad as no major showers are currently active.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AHY COM DLM DSV
SAL  2013-12-28   12h 05m   21  17  2   1   0   1   0 

SAL - SALSA3 camera in 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 - Comae Berenicids
DLM - December Leonis Minorids
DSV - December Sigma Virginids

Dec 26/27 Meteors

The total number of meteors detected last night was down from the previous night. Most of the difference was a decrease in the number of meteors from minor showers and the Antihelions. Meteor rates shouldn’t change too much over the next couple of nights though we should see a major bump in rates for a night or two around the peak of the Quadrantids on January 2/3/4.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AHY COM DLM DSV
SAL  2013-12-27   12h 12m   26  23  1   0   0   1   1 
SAL - SALSA3 camera in 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 - Comae Berenicids
DLM - December Leonis Minorids
DSV - December Sigma Virginids

Dec 25/26 Meteors

Well, it has been way too long… For long time followers of the blog, I am well. My long absence from blogging was due to mostly good things (wonderful twin boys, a heavy work load at the OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission and the usual family life activities that comes with new children and a new home).

The one bad issue that kept me from blogging (at least video meteor data) was the inoperability of my cameras after moving to my new home. For some reason all 4 of my cameras ceased working properly when I tried to re-start my video network. After 2 years of buying new cameras, cables, connectors and such, I finally found the culprit. The cameras did not like the power coming out of the house and required new AC adaptors to work.

In short, my SALSA3 camera (Watec 902H2 Ultimate + 3.8mm f/0.8 lens) is back up and running after 2+ years of downtime and I hope to be posting more regularly in the future.

Last night was my first successful first night and resulted in the capture of 34 meteors. We are currently between major showers (the Geminids of mid-Dec and the Quadrantids of early January) so most of the meteors were sporadics and part of a few of the active minor showers.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AHY COM DLM DSV URS
SAL  2013-12-26   08h 51m   34  24  3   3   0   2   2   0
SAL - SALSA3 camera in 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 - Comae Berenicids
DLM - December Leonis Minorids
DSV - December Sigma Virginids
URS - Ursids
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