Dec 15-21 Meteors

Last weekend the Geminids reached there 2014 peak. As it usual for this annual shower, they did not disappoint. Observers from around the world reported their Geminid counts to the International Meteor Organization (IMO). As of today (12/21/2014), 105 observers from 28 countries reported 10,360 Geminids to the IMO. A graph of the Geminid ZHR can be seen below.

Geminids2014_ZHR

Rather than a smooth rise, peak and fall, the 2014 Geminids produced at least 3 maxima between mid-December 13 and late December 14. The two highest datapoints correspond to ZHRs of ~160. These rates are a bit suspect since they are based on very few Geminids (hence the large error bars). A more reasonable ZHR peak for this year’s shower appears to be ~130 per hour. This fits in well with the high end of Geminid ZHR rates over the past few years (134 per hour in 2013, 109 in 2012, 198 in 2011, 127 in 2010, 120 in 2009, 139 in 2008, 122 in 2007 and 115 in 2006).

Video meteor watching here in Tucson has been hampered by bad weather over the past week. In addition to a few almost completely clouded out nights (12/17 and 12/18), many nights saw heavy dew and some ground fog form. Still the rapid decrease in the Geminids is apparent as video detected rates fell from 139 on the night of the peak (12/14) to 18 on the 15th and then only a single possible Geminid over the next 5 nights.

Sometimes refered to a major shower, the Ursids are a rather fickle shower prone to outbursts but usually very weak. This year’s Ursids were on the weak side with only ~1 per night being reported by my camera system.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT GEM HYD COM URS Others
SAL 2014-12-21  09h 29m   27  21  2   1   -   1   1    1
SAL 2014-12-20  12h 01m   29  25  1   0   -   1   1    1
SAL 2014-12-19  09h 30m   12  8   1   0   -   0   0    3
SAL 2014-12-18  01h 51m   1   1   0   0   -   0   0    0
SAL 2014-12-17  02h 26m   1   1   0   0   0   0   1    0
SAL 2014-12-16  06h 26m   8   3   0   0   2   0   1    2
SAL 2014-12-15  11h 54m   51  18  4   18  3   1   1    7

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
GEM - Geminids
HYD - Sigma Hydrids
COM - Comae Berenicids
URS - Ursids
Others - other minor showers

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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