July 1-7 Meteors

July is a month of showers in Tucson. Not only does meteor activity pick up after 6 months of a seasonal lull, but the rains return to the desert after a few months of dry and hot weather. While the rains haven’t arrived yet, they weren’t too far off. The first four nights of the month saw clear skies. The following 3 nights were affected by a brightening Moon, debris clouds from distance thunderstorms and smoke from the Burro fire in the Santa Catalina mountains to the north of us.

The SALSA3 camera system will be operating every night this month, though a few of the nights will be clouded and/or rained out due to the monsoon rains. The clouds may be a real pain during the next few nights due to the Full Moon. Brightly lit clouds have a habit of driving the meteor detection software crazy.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT CAP Oth
SAL 2017-07-07  06h 59m   14  10  1   0   3
SAL 2017-07-06  06h 47m   14  6   0   0   8
SAL 2017-07-05  04h 18m   10  5   1   0   4
SAL 2017-07-04  08h 17m   23  13  3   0   7
SAL 2017-07-03  07h 18m   21  11  0   1   1
SAL 2017-07-02  07h 50m   23  18  1   0   4
SAL 2017-07-01  07h 59m   25  15  1   2   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
CAP - alpha Capricornids
Oth - other minor showers

June 25-30 Meteors

This post closes out the month of June for the SALSA3 meteor camera. No data was collected during the final three nights as I was on travel. The MetRec meteor detection software does support autonomous operations so I could have left the system up and running for those nights. But, the computer running the MetRec software is located in a part of the house that is not climate controlled and since temps have been routinely pushing 110F+, I didn’t want to risk damaging the computer.

The number of active showers has exploded over the past few weeks. Most of these showers are minor. Rather than list each shower below, I will only list the more prominent showers in order to declutter the table.

The best meteor during the last week of June was this Sporadic from June 26 at 06:20 UT.

062017

 

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT CAP Oth
SAL 2017-06-30  00h 00m        NO DATA 
SAL 2017-06-29  00h 00m        NO DATA
SAL 2017-06-28  00h 00m        NO DATA
SAL 2017-06-27  07h 58m   11  10  0   1   0
SAL 2017-06-26  06h 45m   13  11  0   1   1
SAL 2017-06-25  05h 41m   4   3   0   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 - Antihelions
CAP - alpha Capricornids
Oth - other minor showers

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