Oct 20/21 Meteors and the Orionids at their Peak

Last night was likely the peak of the Orionids. Keep in mind that the Orionids usually have a broad maximum of activity. As a result, last night’s activity wasn’t too much stronger than the night before and we should expect a healthy, if somewhat lower, number of meteors tonight as well.

My dual barrel camera system picked up 166 meteors last night with 113 identified as Orionids. The relatively high number of Sporadics (36) suggests that 20 or so of these meteors were misidentified and are probably also Orionids.

I also spent some time in the backyard this morning observing meteors visually. Compared to the 2007 and 2008 Orionids display, this year’s didn’t seem too noteworthy. Many of the meteors were faint with no exceptionally bright ones (V < 1 mag). The number of meteors seemed lower than I was expecting. After tallying up my observations, I found that I had actually seen a good number of Orionids (20 in ~80 minutes of observing). According to the IMO’s real time activity plot, this corresponds to a ZHR of ~54 ± 12 per hour. Still this result seems to be based only on the last 40 minutes of my observations. With any results based on a single observer, one needs to be cautious. Hopefully other observers in the central/western US/Canada/Mexico were able to make observations. [Added: Additional observations have come in and the maximum rate is now estimated at ZHR = 36 which means rates are comparable to last year’s.]

Bob Lunsford took his meteor camera system out to the dark skies of the Mojave Desert. Bob’s report from the Mojave : “This and the following two reports were made from the Mojave Desert, east of Barstow. Due to battery power I was limited to recording only 4 hours each night. The morning of the 21st was completely clear and produced some good rates along with some impressive Orionid fireballs.”

Obs Date(UT)TotTime TOT SPO NTA STA ORI OUI SSA EGE LMI
TUS Oct-21  11h 09m 166  36  3   5  113  1   4   1   3
SDG Oct-21  04h 06m 193  40  7   7  128  -   -   7   4

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)
NTA/STA – Northern and Southern Taurids (includes Antihelions)
ORI – Orionids
ZTA – Zeta Taurids
OUI – October Ursae Minorids
SSA – Sigma Arietids
EGE – Epsilon Geminids
LMI – Leonis Minorids

This and the following two reports were made from the Mojave Desert, east of Barstow. Due to battery power I was limited to recording only 4 hours each night. The morning of the 21st was completely clear and produced some good rates along with some impressive Orionid fireballs.

 

About Carl Hergenrother
I am a professional astronomer specializing in the study of comets, asteroids and meteors. This blog will focus on my professional and amateur work in this field

2 Responses to Oct 20/21 Meteors and the Orionids at their Peak

  1. Lovemore Machiridza says:

    On 18 October 2009 at 18.45 to 18.50 GMT I was in Zimbabwe (Wedza) watching the south western skies and I noticed a white fuzzy cloud starting to grow. As if by an explosion, although I did not notice any explosion, this cloud grew, the centre getting fuzzier and surrounded by four cloud rings that seemed to be or are similar to shock wave rings, expanding and the whole system moving northwards. It started about 20 degrees above the horizon, about 1 degree to start off then expanding to almost 20 degrees in diameter from where I was observing it from. It moved north for about 30 degrees as well before the whole system faded out. Did anyone notice this and has anyone have an explanation for this phenomenon. i would be very pleased for any feed back at machiridzal@yahoo.co.uk

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