May 13-21 Meteors

The past week has been nice and clear in Tucson. Even with no major active showers, meteor rates have been nice with my camera picking up 12 to 26 meteors per night which is pretty good for May. Most years I average about 12-14 meteors per night in May. This year’s May is averaging almost 19 meteors per night.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT CCA ETA SOP
SAL 2017-05-21  08h 42m   19  15  2   1   0   1
SAL 2017-05-20  08h 47m   22  17  2   1   0   2
SAL 2017-05-19  08h 44m   26  17  3   2   4   0
SAL 2017-05-18  08h 51m   12  12  0   0   0   0
SAL 2017-05-17  08h 52m   13  7   4   0   2   0
SAL 2017-05-16  08h 35m   15  13  1   0   1   0
SAL 2017-05-15  08h 55m   18  13  1   -   3   1
SAL 2017-05-14  08h 24m   21  15  3   -   2   1
SAL 2017-05-13  08h 38m   12  9   3   -   0   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 - Anthelions
XLI - April Chi Librids
CCA - Chi Capricornids
ETA - Eta Aquariids
SOP - Southern May Ophiucids
Oth - other minor showers

May 11/12 Meteors

Last night was a good night for meteors as it saw the highest rates the SALSA3 system detected so far this month. Rather surprisingly, the number of detected Eta Aquariids (ETA) was similar to what was seen during the ETA peak last week.

The night of May 10/11 might also have been good but, unfortunately, I didn’t get any data. Usually when an entire night is missed it is due to weather (clouds, high humidity, condensation), hardware problems (computer reboots, camera housing issues) or user error. This time it was user error. I set up the system but forgot to check on it after I needed to flip a few breakers at the house. Grrrr…..

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT ETA ELY SOP
SAL 2017-05-12  09h 00m   28  14  2   2   10  0
SAL 2017-05-11  00h 00m        NO METEORS

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 - Anthelions
XLI - April Chi Librids
ETA - Eta Aquariids
ELY - Eta Lyrids
SOP - Southern May Ophiucids
Oth - other minor showers

May 9/10 Meteors

Rain and clouds have been the rule in the Tucson area lately. After 1.5 months of no rain, we got 0.30″ at the house. Mind you, I’m not complaining. Especially since the nights are rarely completely cloudy as was the case over the past two nights. Both nights saw a few hours of clear skies resulting in some meteor detections.

While the most active shower is still the fading Eta Aquariids (ETA), more Eta Lyrids (ELY) were detected last night. The ELYs are from Comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock which passed very close to Earth (0.03 au) in 1983 and reached 1st magnitude. It is a long-period comet currently on an orbit with a ~1000 year period. The ELY are a minor shower but produced a few meteors each year in early May.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT XLI ETA ELY SOP
SAL 2017-05-10  03h 02m   12  8   0   0   1   3   0
SAL 2017-05-09  02h 49m   3   2   1   0   0   0   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 - Anthelions
XLI - April Chi Librids
ETA - Eta Aquariids
ELY - Eta Lyrids
SOP - Southern May Ophiucids
Oth - other minor showers

May 6/7/8 Meteors

We are currently experiencing the peak of the Eta Aquariids (ETA) meteor shower. The ETAs should start ramping down though, to be honest, the bright Moon will make any ETA watching very difficult in the coming days anyway.

Last night was the first mostly cloudy night in Tucson in quite some time. Luckily, it was clear for the last 2 hours of the night when the ETAs were active. The weather will continue to be poor for astronomy for the next few nights. In fact, we got our first rain since the very end of March (~0.13″ this afternoon with more expected tonight and tomorrow).

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT XLI ETA ELY SOP
SAL 2017-05-08  02h 17m   14  4   0   0   10  0   0
SAL 2017-05-07  08h 57m   21  11  2   1   7   0   0
SAL 2017-05-06  11h 40m   19  5   3   0   11  0   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 - Anthelions
XLI - April Chi Librids
ETA - Eta Aquariids
ELY - Eta Lyrids
SOP - Southern May Ophiucids
Oth - other minor showers

May 4 & 5 Meteors

We are now passing closest to the orbits of the Eta Aquariid (ETA) meteor stream. As a result, the number of detected ETAs has been increasing over the past 5 nights (6 on 5/1, 4 on 5/2, 9 on 5/3, 12 on 5/4 and 12 on 5/5).

My good friend Salvador Aguirre of Hermosillo, Mexico operates an all-sky camera and has been posting images and movies of the ETAs on his blog.

I was outside at 4 am this morning observing comets. Even though I wasn’t watching for meteors I did see one ETA. Comet C/2015 ER61 (PANSTARRS) is located only a few degrees from the ETA radiant. While observing the comet in 10×50 binoculars, I was able to watch an ETA brighten to visibility, move about a degree or two, leave behind a short lived trail and then flare out. This all happened within the small field-of-view of the binoculars. It was quite a sight.

The ETAs will continue to be good for the next few nights though the amount of dark time at the end of the night will be severely shortened by the Moon by early next week.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT XLI ABO PBO ETA ELY SOP
SAL 2017-05-05  09h 11m   24  10  0   0   -   -   12  1   0
SAL 2017-05-04  09h 13m   27  13  0   1   0   0   12  0   1

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 - Anthelions
XLI - April Chi Librids
ABO - Alpha Bootids
PBO - Phi Bootids
ETA - Eta Aquariids
ELY - Eta Lyrids
SOP - Southern May Ophiucids
Oth - other minor showers

May 3 Meteors

The Eta Aquariids are getting more active as we approach this weekend’s peak. This morning nine ETAs were observed which is a bump up from the 4 and 6 we saw the past two nights. Though my camera is monitoring 4 other showers, all of them were quiet last night (at least in my cameras field-of-view).

The Eta Aquariids are a nice shower though only observable during the last few hours of the night. If you want to learn more about the Eta Aquariids and how to observe them, go check out Bob Lunsford’s write-up at the American Meteor Society.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT XLI ABO PBO ETA ELY
SAL 2017-05-03  08h 40m   24  12  3   0   0   0   9   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 - Anthelions
XLI - April Chi Librids
ABO - Alpha Bootids
PBO - Phi Bootids
ETA - Eta Aquariids
ELY - Eta Lyrids
Oth - other minor showers

May 2 Meteors

Last night was another clear night over Tucson. Though the number of detected meteors dropped from one night ago, meteor rates are still healthy. The Eta Aquariids (ETA) are active during the last hours of the night. Hopefully rates will climb as we approach their peak in a few nights (May 4/5).

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT XLI ABO PBO ETA 
SAL 2017-05-02  09h 18m   19  14  1   0   0   0   4  

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 - Anthelions
XLI - April Chi Librids
ABO - Alpha Bootids
PBO - Phi Bootids
ETA - Eta Aquariids
Oth - other minor showers