Feb 11-16 Meteors

February is usually a slow month for meteor watchers. Even though a surprisingly large number of meteor showers have been discovered in February over the past few years, all are minor and produce few meteors. With no major showers active and even the background rate of sporadic meteors (those showers not affiliated with any shower) near annual lows, February’s meteor rates are low. My observed numbers are even lower on most nights since this month has seen a large number of nights affected by high clouds.

My camera is set up to watch for four minor showers this week.

The North Delta Leonids (NDL) appear to be from a short-period comet with a perihelion of ~0.6 AU and inclination of ~5° resulting in a relatively slow velocity of ~20 km/s. It is possible that near-Earth asteroid 1999 RD32 is the parent of this family. RD32 is a large, dark object ~5 km in diameter and may be cometary in origin.

The Delta Serpentids (DSE) are from a longer period comet with a perihelion of ~1 au and inclination of ~130°. Comet C/1947 F2 (Becvar) is a possible source of these rapid (65 km/s) meteors.

The Beta Herculids (BHE) is a newly discovered shower discovered with data from the network that my camera is a part of. Orbits for the BHEs have not been determined yet though their velocity of ~57 km/s suggest a long-period comet origin. Even less is known about the Delta Leonids (DLE). With a velocity of 20 km/s these meteors are from a short-period comet or even a near-Earth asteroid.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT NDL DSE BHE DLE
SAL  2014-02-16   09h 53m   11  11  0   0   0   0   0
SAL  2014-02-15   11h 23m   22  18  0   1   1   1   1
SAL  2014-02-14   11h 43m   15  10  3   0   0   2   -
SAL  2014-02-13   11h 11m   11  5   1   1   4   0   -
SAL  2014-02-12   11h 52m   17  12  2   0   2   1   -
SAL  2014-02-11   11h 54m   10  9   1   0   -   -   -

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
NDL - North Delta Leonids
DSE - Delta Serpentids
BHE - Beta Herculids
DLE - Delta Leonids

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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