Beginning of February Meteors

If January was warm and clear in southern Arizona, February is turning out to be warmer but cloudier. Over the past ten nights, nearly ever one has been affected by clouds to some extent. Last night (Feb 9/10) was the clearest and as a result a large number of meteors were detected.

February is sort of a slow month for meteors. There are no major showers active and many of the minor showers are very minor. Still there has been some good activity lately and at least 3 showers were active this past week.

The Pi Hydrids (PIH) are from an unknown long-period comet with a perihelion of 0.89 AU and inclination of 162° and strike Earth’s upper atmosphere at ~71 km/s. This shower was first announced by Peter Jenniskens in his excellent 2006 book ‘Meteor Showers and Their Parent Bodies’.

The February Epsilon Virginids (FEV) are similar to the PIH in that they are the result of an unknown long-period comet. The FEVs are on an orbit with a perihelion of 0.49 AU and inclination of 138° resulting in a fast velocity of 63 km/s. This shower was only announced last year by Steakley and Jenniskens.

The Alpha Centaurids are a far southern shower that has been known for over 50 years. They also have high inclination orbits (107°). Perihelion is just inside the orbit of Earth at 0.98 AU and their velocity is ~59 km/s.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT ACB ACE FEV PIH
SAL  2014-02-10   11h 55m   27  24  3   -   -   -   0
SAL  2014-02-09   10h 48m   17  15  1   -   -   0   1
SAL  2014-02-08   11h 51m   13  8   4   -   -   0   1
SAL  2014-02-07   02h 57m   7   5   2   -   -   0   0
SAL  2014-02-06   10h 32m   12  10  0   -   0   0   2
SAL  2014-02-05   05h 20m   5   5   0   0   0   0   0
SAL  2014-02-04   10h 02m   19  15  2   0   0   2   -
SAL  2014-02-03   03h 48m   7   5   1   0   1   0   -
SAL  2014-02-02   07h 04m   11  8   1   0   1   1   -
SAL  2014-02-01   00h 00m      * * * CLOUDS * * *

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from 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
ACB - Alpha Coronae Borealids
ACE - Alpha Centaurids
FEV - February Epsilon Virginids
PIH - Pi Hydrids

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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