Dec 13/14 Meteors and the Geminids Peak

The Geminids did not dissapoint! Though the IMO ZHR Live page doesn’t seem to be updating observations made by myself and Salvador show ZHRs that equaled or even exceeded the expected value of 120. Over the course of about 3.33 hours I averaged about 1 meteor per minute under skies that range from a limiting magnitude of +5.0 (when the Moon was still up) to +5.7 (before the break of dawn).

For my SALSA3 and Sentinel cameras it was a record-setting night. The previous single night record for SALSA3 (and its 2 predecessors) was 124 meteors during this year’s Perseids peak. Last night SALSA3 detected 124 Geminids! Add in another 35 non-Geminids and the total for he night was 159 meteors. The near-allsky Sentinel also broke its previous record set during this year’s Perseids by catching 123 meteors of which 84 were Geminids.

The video below contains all 159 meteors detected by SALSA3. It starts in the evening where you can catch a short glimpse of the Moon as it quickly moves out of the frame. Note the top of one of my trees illuminated by Christmas lights for the first few meteors. Though not all of the meteors are Geminids most are and it is fun to watch them radiate from the twin stars of Castor and Pollux.

The next plot is a radiant plot. For every meteor detected my SALSA3, the MetRec software runs the path of the meteor back. Where the back tracks of related meteors cross is the radiant. It is obvious from the plot that most of last night’s meteors are related and radiated from an area near the bright star Castor.

Down in Hermosillo, Salvador spent almost 5 hours watching the Geminids and racked up a total of 308 meteors of which 272 were Geminids. This is in addition to his PARENI camera which also caught 75 meteors.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT GEM HYD PUP DAD DLM MON COM
SAL3 2010-12-14   12h 10m  159  22  7  124  2   0   2   1   0   1
ALLS 2010-12-14   12h 38m  123  24  9   84  1   1   0   1   2   1
HERM 2010-12-14   11h 42m   75  17  6   49  1   -   -   -   1   1
VIST 2010-12-13   03h 20m  199  31  -  168  -   -   -   -   -   - (LM=+5.0 to +5.7)
VISH 2010-12-13   04h 40m  308  12  3  272  8   4   -   -   5   4 (LM=+5.5 to +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
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

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