July 28/29 Meteors

Late July is usually a time of rain showers in southern Arizona. Instead, we have been witnessing showers of a different nature. The Southern Delta Aquariids and the Alpha Capricornids are currently at their peak level of activity. These 2 showers may be producing many of the recent meteors being observed by many of you (based on your comments).

It is surprising (to me at least) how many Perseids have been detected lately. This shower is one of the best and is known to be active for many weeks before its maximum. Still with maximum 2 weeks away, the current level of activity is very encouraging. Unfortunately, the Moon will a problem during the time of the Perseid peak. Still, moon or no moon, this is always a good shower to observe.

Obs  Date (UT)   TotTime TOT SPO ANT CAP SDA PAU PER
TUS  2009-07-29  07h 48m  57  20  4   3   18  1   11

TUS – Camera in Tucson operated by Carl Hergenrother
SDG – Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
TotTime – Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT – Total number of meteors detected
SPOSporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT – Antihelions
CAP – Alpha Capricornids
SDA – Southern Delta Aquariids
PAU – Piscids Australids
PER – Perseids

July 26/27/28 Meteors – Peak of the SDA, CAP and PAU showers

The monsoon finally took a break here in southern Arizona. For the first time in over a month, the night sky has been clear of all clouds and haze. The timing couldn’t have been better since this week marks the peak activity of a number of minor showers. The Alpha Capricornids and Piscids Australids are both capable of producing 1-5 meteors per hour from a dark site. The Southern Delta Aquariids are even better at 10-20 meteors per hours from a dark site.

The best meteor of the past 2 nights was this early evening Alpha Capricornid. The video below is playing at ~1/2 speed. Still this was a rather slow meteor which is common for Alpha Caps.

CAP

The high number of detected meteors confirms that activity was up. Even with lots of active showers, about half f the activity was from Sporadic meteors that are not members of any known shower. Of the active showers, the Southern Delta Aquariids lead the pack, as expected. The Alpha Capricornids come in a close second with the Perseids (still weeks from their peak) producing a healthy number as well.

Obs  Date (UT)   TotTime TOT SPO ANT CAP SDA PAU PER
TUS  2009-07-28  08h 23m  34  20  1   3   8   0   1
TUS  2009-07-27  08h 21m  47  22  5   5   9   1   5

TUS – Camera in Tucson operated by Carl Hergenrother
SDG – Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
TotTime – 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
SDA – Southern Delta Aquariids
PAU – Piscids Australids
PER – Perseids

July 21/22 Meteors

Bob notes the following about this year’s Southern Delta Aquariids: “The lack of Delta Aquarids so far this year seem to validate the new activity period proposed for this shower (July 21 through Aug 30). Rates from this shower should now increase substantially, reaching maximum activity on Thursday July 30.”

Last night looked promising in Tucson with no thunderstorm activity and little in the way of clouds. I was disappointed that only 7 meteors were picked up. Though there were no T-storms in the Tucson area, a large complex of storms to the northwest pushed a gust front through the area last night. The high winds caused a dust storm that covered the Tucson area and made it difficult to observe much of anything last night.

Obs  Date (UT)   TotTime TOT SPO ANT CAP SDA PAU PER
TUS  2009-07-22  03h 26m  7   5   1   0   1   0   0
SDG  2009-07-22  07h 00m  30  22  3   2   0   0   3

TUS – Camera in Tucson operated by Carl Hergenrother
SDG – Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
TotTime – Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT – Total number of meteors detected
SPOSporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT – Antihelions
CAP – Alpha Capricornids
SDA – Southern Delta Aquariids
PAU – Piscids Australids
PER – Perseids

July 11/12/13 Meteors

Well this is a little more like it. Last night’s rates were still rather low but the night before produced 15 meteors. Clouds have been less of an issue lately as the monsoon enters one of its down periods. That should end in a few days though.

The last 2 nights have also seen some consistent activity from 2 of July’s better showers, the Alpha Capricornids and the Southern Delta Aquariids. Both showers will gradually ramp up in activity until the time of their peaks on July 27/28/29.

From Bob’s notes: “With the moon becoming less of a problem, meteor rates finally kicked into high gear. Now I just need some better weather as clouds interfered with observations on the 11th and 14th.”

Obs  Date (UT)   TotTime TOT SPO ANT CAP SDA
TUS  2009-07-13  07h 14m  7   4   1   1   1
SDG  2009-07-13  07h 44m  40  30  5   2   3
TUS  2009-07-12  04h 40m  15  12  1   1   1
SDG  2009-07-12  07h 23m  32  24  6   2   0

TUS – Camera in Tucson operated by Carl Hergenrother
SDG – Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
TotTime – Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT – Total number of meteors detected
SPOSporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT – Antihelions
CAP – Alpha Capricornids
SDA – Southern Delta Aquariids

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