Early October Meteors

A quick perusal of the number of detection by the SALSA3 meteor camera shows nightly rates that range from 1 to 36. While there are natural variations in the number of meteors observed per night, the very low values are mainly due to clouds blocking the sky and resulting in fewer meteors being seen. Case in point, the night of Oct 7 was cloudy and rainy. A sole meteor was detected through the clouds. The meteors must have been fairly bright to have been seen at all.

Of the active showers, the Northern and Southern Taurids (NTA and STA) and Orionids (ORI) contribute about a quarter of all of the meteors during the first part of October. The Orionids will continue to grow more prominent as we approach their Oct 21 peak. This shower is usually a major shower and can produce up a ZHR of up to 60-80. But it also experiences a ~12 year cycle in peak activity due to Jupiter’s gravity moving the densest part of the Orionid dust trail towards and away from Earth’s orbit (ZHR=70 in 2007, ZHR=39 in 2008, ZHR=45 in 2009, ZHR=38 in 2010, ZHR=33 in 2011, ZHR=25 with short bursts to 44 in 2012, ZHR=21 in 2014). This year should continue the recent trend towards low rates though, as in 2012, short lived bursts of greater activity can occur.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO NTA STA ORI SLY DAU EGE OCA GIA Oth
SAL 2015-10-11  10h 59m   33  20  3   3   3   -   -   4   -   -   0
SAL 2015-10-10  09h 41m   20  14  1   3   1   -   0   1   -   0   0
SAL 2015-10-09  09h 02m   20  14  2   2   0   -   0   0   -   2   0
SAL 2015-10-08  11h 12m   29  19  1   2   5   -   1   0   -   1   0
SAL 2015-10-07  00h 09m   1   1   0   0   0   -   0   0   0   0   0
SAL 2015-10-06  07h 58m   17  11  3   1   0   -   1   1   0   0   0
SAL 2015-10-05  06h 28m   13  10  2   0   0   0   0   0   1   -   0
SAL 2015-10-04  06h 39m   16  10  1   4   1   0   0   0   -   -   0
SAL 2015-10-03  10h 34m   34  21  2   4   4   0   1   1   -   -   1
SAL 2015-10-02  10h 11m   36  23  1   6   1   1   0   2   -   -   1
SAL 2015-10-01  10h 59m   35  21  0   2   4   2   3   2   -   -   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)
NTA - Northern Taurids
STA - Southern Taurids
ORI - Orionids
SLY - September Lyncids
DAU - Delta Aurigids
EGE - Epsilon Geminids
OCA - October Camelopardalids
GIA - Draconids (also called the Giacobinids)
Oth - other minor showers

Late September Meteors

After two days of clouds and rain, the weather was much better for the remainder of the month. September is a month that sees a high frequency of meteors even though no major showers peak during the month. Most of the observed meteors were sporadics though the a few minor showers like the Taurids (NTA and STA) and October’s major shower (ORI) were steady if small contributors.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT NTA STA ORI SLY DAU EGE Oth
SAL 2015-09-30  10h 24m   38  21  -   1   3   3   2   3   1   4
SAL 2015-09-29  10h 27m   21  17  -   0   0   0   1   1   0   2
SAL 2015-09-28  10h 40m   22  15  -   0   1   1   1   0   1   3
SAL 2015-09-27  10h 08m   25  14  -   3   1   1   0   1   4   1
SAL 2015-09-26  10h 49m   24  16  -   2   2   1   2   0   0   1
SAL 2015-09-25  10h 35m   30  17  -   1   2   1   2   1   0   6
SAL 2015-09-24  10h 30m   29  15  4   -   -   4   0   2   0   4
SAL 2015-09-23  07h 37m   26  16  2   -   -   0   3   1   0   4
SAL 2015-09-22  00h 00m            *** Clouds/Rain ***
SAL 2015-09-21  00h 00m            *** Clouds/Rain ***

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
NTA - Northern Taurids
STA - Southern Taurids
ORI - Orionids
SLY - September Lyncids
DAU - Delta Aurigids
EGE - Epsilon Geminids
Oth - other minor showers

Mid September Meteors

Finally, for the first time since the peak night of the Perseids we got a few clear nights in Tucson. The nights of Sep 16/17 and 17/18 saw 44 and 37 meteors being detected by the SALSA3 camera system, respectively. Most of the meteors are sporadics meaning they are not affiliated with any known shower. The Orionids (ORI) which will be a major producer of meteors for a few days around its Oct 21 peak were producing a few meteors per night. Other minor showers such as the September Perseids (SPE), September Lyncids (SLY) and Delta Aurigids (DAU) were occasional meteor producers.

A new meteor shower was reported by Petr Jenniskens in the Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams. The Chi Cygnids (CCY) was seen in video data from Europe and California on the nights of Sep 14 and 15 UT. A quick look through my data did not turn up any CCY candidates.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT ORI SPE SLY DAU Oth
SAL 2015-09-20  08h 55m   28  19  3   1   -   1   1   3
SAL 2015-09-19  06h 48m   17  14  0   1   -   0   1   1
SAL 2015-09-18  09h 31m   37  26  4   2   -   1   3   1
SAL 2015-09-17  10h 30m   44  36  4   2   1   0   -   2
SAL 2015-09-16  04h 29m   9   4   2   1   1   0   -   1
SAL 2015-09-15  08h 54m   16  8   2   1   0   3   -   2
SAL 2015-09-14  03h 50m   21  13  1   5   1   0   -   1
SAL 2015-09-13  05h 05m   27  17  4   1   2   2   -   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
ORI - Orionids
SPE - September Perseids
SLY - September Lyncids
DAU - Delta Aurigids
Oth - other minor showers

Early September Meteors

It’s been hard to get a good idea of nightly meteor rates recently. There hasn’t been a single night over the past ~2 weeks that wasn’t affected in some way by clouds. One night (Sep 4/5) was completely clouded out and another (Aug 31/Sep 1) saw a single meteor being detected between the clouds. Unfortunately I had a camera problem on the night of Sep 9/10 that saw no data collected. Not sure what happened but at some point (presumably) early in the night, the power strip that the camera and controlling computer are plugged into was switched off. My guess is our cat knocked into it.

We are currently between major showers. The Perseids of August are long over and the Orionids of October are slowly building. Even though the peak of the Orionids are over a month away, it is one of the most active showers out there right now. The September Perseids (no relations to the Perseids of August) also produced a small number of meteors during the nights of Sep 6/7/8/9. Most years this shower is a minor producer of meteors but experienced outbursts in 2008 and 2013. The 2008 outburst was detected by an earlier incarnation of my SALSA meteor video system and was the subject of the very first Transient Sky post.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT ORI SDA AUR SPE SLY Oth
SAL 2015-09-12  09h 11m   17  11  1   4   -   -   0   1   0
SAL 2015-09-11  03h 50m   9   8   0   1   0   0   0   0   0
SAL 2015-09-10  00h 00m          --- Camera Off ---
SAL 2015-09-09  03h 59m   16  11  1   1   0   0   2   1   0
SAL 2015-09-08  04h 14m   6   4   0   1   0   0   1   0   0
SAL 2015-09-07  08h 42m   19  15  2   0   0   0   2   0   0
SAL 2015-09-06  08h 49m   23  15  3   3   0   1   0   1   0
SAL 2015-09-05  00h 00m            --- Clouds ---
SAL 2015-09-04  06h 59m   13  12  0   1   0   0   -   -   0
SAL 2015-09-03  04h 38m   8   8   0   0   0   0   -   -   0
SAL 2015-09-02  02h 25m   3   2   1   0   0   0   -   -   0
SAL 2015-09-01  00h 18m   1   1   0   0   0   0   -   -   0
SAL 2015-08-31  03h 36m   6   4   1   0   0   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
ORI - Orionids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
AUR - Aurigids
SPE - September Perseids
SLY - September Lyncids
Oth - other minor showers

Aug 24-30 Meteors

The usual Arizona monsoon weather kept the number of detected meteors down this past week. We did get one very clear night (Aug 28/29) which saw 38 meteors imaged. That’s a bit higher than expected and for awhile I wondered if a small outburst from an unknown shower had occurred. Instead it seems that all of the background active minor showers were a little more active that night.

Now that the Perseids are done for 2015, we can look forward to this year’s Orionids. These pieces of Comet Halley peak in mid-October. Though we have some time till the Orionids are worth staying up late for, the never tired SALSA3 camera can watch as this shower slowly ramps up in activity.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT ORI SDA KCG AUR Oth
SAL 2015-08-30  08h 25m   17  15  2   0   0   0   0   0
SAL 2015-08-29  09h 49m   38  26  2   3   2   3   2   0
SAL 2015-08-28  03h 14m   8   6   1   1   0   0   0   0
SAL 2015-08-27  04h 05m   18  14  1   2   1   0   0   0
SAL 2015-08-26  04h 43m   11  6   2   -   3   0   0   0
SAL 2015-08-25  00h 00m         --- CLOUDS/RAIN ---
SAL 2015-08-24  00h 20m   1   1   0   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 - Antihelions
ORI - Orionids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
KCG - Kappa Cygnids
Oth - other minor showers

Aug 14-23 Meteors

It’s been over a week since the peak of the Perseids and overall meteor activity has settled down. This is quite the norm after major showers since their period of high activity only lasts for a few days. It also doesn’t help that the Perseids ramp down more rapidly than they build up. Still background activity during the Summer and Fall is rather high. Much higher than it is during period from January to June when activity is at a low.

Here in Tucson, the monsoon took a break and we had a nice stretch of clear (or mostly clear) nights. About 2/3rds of the meteors these nights are Sporadics meaning they don’t belong to any known shower. A number of minor showers have been steady, yet weak, producers of meteors.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT PER ORI SDA ERI KCG ATR UCE Oth
SAL 2015-08-23  05h 18m   15  7   1   4   1   1   -   1   -   0   0
SAL 2015-08-22  08h 25m   27  20  1   4   1   0   -   1   -   0   0
SAL 2015-08-21  09h 17m   21  9   2   3   3   0   -   1   1   2   0
SAL 2015-08-20  09h 35m   33  20  2   1   2   2   -   2   1   3   0
SAL 2015-08-19  08h 56m   34  19  4   5   1   1   -   1   3   0   0
SAL 2015-08-18  09h 31m   26  17  0   4   0   2   0   0   2   0   0
SAL 2015-08-17  05h 49m   12  5   1   3   0   0   0   1   2   0   0
SAL 2015-08-16  03h 36m   7   3   1   2   -   0   0   1   0   0   0
SAL 2015-08-15  07h 54m   45  19  3   18  -   0   1   2   2   0   0
SAL 2015-08-14  00h 00m            ---- Clouds/Rain ----

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
PER - Perseids
ORI - Orionids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
COM - Southern Iota Aquariids
ERI - Eridanids
KCG - Kappa Cygnids
ATR - Alpha Triangulids
UCE - Upsilon Cetids
Oth - other minor showers

Aug 12/13 Meteors + Perseids Peak

 

Well… what can I say. This year’s Perseids were very good.

The sky was nice and clear for the night of the peak (Aug 12/13 UT). I went outside just before 2 am and watched for 2.25 hours. During that time I saw exactly 1 meteor per minute under a 6.3 magnitude sky. Not all of those meteors were Perseids but 85% were or 116 of the 135 meteors. As can often be the case, the best meteor of the night was neither the brightest or a Perseid. It was a sporadic meteor of ~0th magnitude that lasted for over 4 seconds as it slowly broke into multiple pieces before fading out.

The SALSA3 camera was also running and picked up 125 meteors throughout the night. At least 97 of these meteors were Perseids. I suspect that a few meteors listed below as Other were actually Perseids mistakenly identified as another shower by the MetRec program.

Observations from around the world are still coming into the IMO. Their 2015 Perseids Live ZHR page shows a max ZHR of 83. This is still very preliminary and will be updated. Then we’ll know the real strength of this year shower. Just using my visual data I get an average ZHR of ~83. The 15 minute period with the most Perseids (10:21 – 10:36 UT) gives a ZHR of 110. All in all a very enjoyable shower.

This year’s Perseids also produced a large number of fireballs. The NASA All-Sky Fireball Network picked up 250 Perseid fireballs from its network of cameras across the US. Down in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, my friend Salvador Aguirre picked up 10 fireballs which can be seen here.

Obs Date(UT)     Time    TOT SPO ANT PER SDA ERI KCG Oth
SAL 2015-08-13  08h 32m  125  16  1   97  1   0   0   11
VIS 2015-08-13  02h 15m  135  19  -  116  -   -   -   -

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
PER - Perseids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
COM - Southern Iota Aquariids
ERI - Eridanids
KCG - Kappa Cygnids
Oth - other minor showers
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