Dec 12/13 Meteors (a night before the Geminids peak)

Make no mistake about it, the Geminids are back! Though much of the US is griped in either snow or bitter cold, the Mexican state of Sonora and the American states of Arizona and California are seeing warm temps and clear skies.

My SALSA3 camera picked up a total of 94 meteors with 69 of those id’d as Geminids. The near all-sky Sentinel camera saw 55 meteors with 32 being Geminids. Over in San Diego, Bob’s intensified camera caught many more with 171 Geminids seen out of a grand total of 241 meteors.

On the visual side, I was able to observe for ~1.5 hours last night under a +5.4 and +5.7 sky (+5.4 for my first session and +5.7 for my 2nd session). The +5.7 limiting magnitude was the darkest I’ve ever recorded from my home. Between the 2 sessions I spied 53 meteors with 35 being Geminids.

Down in Hermosillo, Salvador is blessed with even darker skies with a limiting magnitude of +6.2. Over 3.5 hours he caught 143 meteors with 104 being Geminids.

According to the IMO’s Live ZHR plot, the Geminids were producing a ZHR between 40 and 60 last night. Of course, if you live anywhere near civilization, your sky is bright and actual rates will  be much lower. For relatively dark Tucson actual hourly rates were closer to 20-30 per hour.

Tonight marks the peak of the Geminids and if history is any guide, rates should twice as high as last night. Remember the Moon will spoil the view early on so its better to wait till after midnight to observe.

Last night also marked SALSA3’s 79th consecutive night with a meteor detection.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT GEM HYD PSU PUP DAD DLM MON COM
SAL3 2010-12-13   12h 09m   94  15  2   69  3   0   0   0   1   2   2
ALLS 2010-12-13   12h 39m   55  9   2   32  5   1   0   0   4   0   2
SDG  2010-12-13   10h 23m  241  72  7  171  3   3   2   3   4   4   2
VIST 2010-12-13   01h 31m   53  18  -   35  -   -   -   -   -   -   - (LM=+5.4,5.7)
VISH 2010-12-13   03h 30m  143  14  4  104  7   -   4   -   -   7   3 (LM=+6.2)

SAL3 - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
ALLS - Near all-sky camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIST - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VISH - Visual observations from Hermosillo (Salvador Aguirre)
HERM - PARENI camera in Hermosillo (Salvador Aguirre)
SDG - Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
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   
GEM - Geminids
HYD - Sigma Hydrids
PSU - Psi Ursa Majorids
PUP - Puppids-Vellids
DAD - December Alpha Draconids
DLM - December Leonis Minorids
MON - Monocerotids

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

4 Responses to Dec 12/13 Meteors (a night before the Geminids peak)

  1. cyber5 says:

    I’m gonna take a few photos of them tonite!

  2. cyber5 says:

    Negative. 2 cameras, 200 shots at about 20 secs each – and not a single meteor. They kept happening just outside of frame.😦

    However, I did catch the ISS flyby in October. U can see it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cyber5/5119650951/

    I’ll try again during the next shower.

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