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 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 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

May 11-19 Meteors

The middle of May saw some nice meteor nights over Tucson. Even with the Eta Aquariids dropping off from their early May peak, enough Sporadic and minor shower activity is ongoing to keep nightly video rates at a dozen or more.

The last third of May may bring many more meteors than usual as the Camelopardalids, a usually very minor shower, may experience an outburst on the night of May 23/24. More on this shower in the next few days.

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Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT ETA XLI ELY SOP CCA
SAL  2014-05-19   08h 49m   13  9   0   2   -   -   1   1
SAL  2014-05-18   08h 51m   10  7   1   0   -   -   1   1
SAL  2014-05-17   07h 18m   7   5   0   1   -   -   0   1
SAL  2014-05-16   08h 51m   20  15  3   2   -   -   0   0
SAL  2014-05-15   08h 55m   16  14  1   1   -   -   0   -
SAL  2014-05-14   08h 43m   13  11  0   2   -   -   0   -
SAL  2014-05-13   08h 59m   11  9   1   1   -   -   1   -
SAL  2014-05-12   08h 58m   14  7   0   4   -   2   1   -
SAL  2014-05-11   08h 47m   18  11  0   7   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 - Antihelions
ETA - Eta Aquariids
XLI - April Chi Librids
ELY - Eta Lyrids
SOP - Southern May Ophiuchids
CCA - Chi Capricornids

May 1-10 Meteors

The end of last month experienced the peak of the major Lyrid meteor shower. The first week or so of May is seeing some signifiant activity from the Eta Aquariids (ETA). The ETAs are actually debris from Comet Halley. They are the sister shower to October’s Orionids (ORI). So if you’ve been seeing some long bright meteors during your early morning walks the past few mornings, you’ve actually been seeing small pieces of Halley’s comet.

The IMO Live ZHR page presents reports from visual observers from all around the world. They have been observing a good shower with ZHRs of ~50. It’s too bad the radiant is only observable for an hour or so prior to sunup from the the NH.

The ETAs were predicted to peak around May 7 UT and the IMO reports confirm this. My meteor camera totals disagree as the number of ETAs has continued to climb even though we are 2-3 days past the peak. Perhaps the number of bright ETAs (which are the only ones my camera can detect) are still increasing even though the total number of meteors (bright and faint) peaked a few nights ago. Regardless, the ETAs should wind down from here on out.

2014May10_ETA

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Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT ETA ABO PBO XLI ELY SOP
SAL  2014-05-10   08h 58m   23  11  0   11  -   -   0   1   0
SAL  2014-05-09   08h 55m   23  8   2   11  -   -   1   0   1
SAL  2014-05-08   09h 07m   17  9   1   7   -   -   0   0   0
SAL  2014-05-07   06h 16m   12  4   1   7   -   -   0   0   0
SAL  2014-05-06   09h 11m   12  3   2   7   -   -   0   0   0
SAL  2014-05-05   06h 49m   5   3   0   1   -   -   0   0   0
SAL  2014-05-04   09h 14m   16  9   2   5   0   0   0   0   0
SAL  2014-05-03   08h 42m   12  5   0   5   0   0   2   0   -
SAL  2014-05-02   08h 31m   25  14  4   5   1   0   1   -   -
SAL  2014-05-01   09h 06m   15  14  0   1   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 - Antihelions
ETA - Eta Aquariids
ABO - Alpha Bootids
PBO - Phi Bootids
XLI - April Chi Librids
ELY - Eta Lyrids
SOP - Southern May Ophiuchids 

Late April Meteors

April 22 marked the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower. The Lyrids are considered a major shower though, in reality, they are the weakest of the major showers. You might even be able to call them the strongest minor shower.

The Lyrids were produced by comet C/1861 G1 (Thatcher), a comet seen only in 1861. It is a high inclination (~80º) long-period comet with a period of ~400 years. The shower is also prone to outbursts though none was predicted for or reported this year. On the April 22 UT, a total of 21 Lyrids were observed. The star chart below shows the radiant of the Lyrids halfway between Lyra and the keystone of Hercules.

2014Apr22_Lyrids

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Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT SLE PPU LYR ETA
SAL  2014-04-30   09h 13m   16  12  1   -   -   -   3
SAL  2014-04-29   09h 23m   13  11  2   -   -   -   0
SAL  2014-04-28   09h 09m   12  10  1   -   0   -   1
SAL  2014-04-27   09h 01m   16  13  2   -   0   -   1
SAL  2014-04-26   08h 03m   6   4   0   2   0   -   0
SAL  2014-04-25   09h 07m   12  10  2   0   0   0   0
SAL  2014-04-24   08h 15m   11  8   1   0   0   2   0
SAL  2014-04-23   07h 39m   15  8   1   2   0   4   0
SAL  2014-04-22   09h 08m   30  8   1   0   0   21  0
SAL  2014-04-21   09h 12m   14  9   1   1   0   3   0
SAL  2014-04-20   07h 54m   15  13  0   1   0   1   0
SAL  2014-04-19   06h 19m   5   4   0   0   0   1   0
SAL  2014-04-18   00h 00m    "Clouds All Night"
SAL  2014-04-17   08h 23m   11  7   2   1   0   1   -
SAL  2014-04-16   09h 49m   17  13  3   1   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 - AntihelionsZSE - Zeta Serpentids
SLE - Sigma Leonids
PPU - Pi Puppids
LYR - Lyrids
ETA - Eta Aquariids