Feb 18/19 Meteors

Finally a nice clear night with no clouds and no bright Moon. Still with no major, or even good minor, showers active rates are still low.

From Bob’s notes: “Skies were clear all night long. Only 1 shower meteor was detected tonight, a bright magnitude -3 Antihelion.”

Obs  Date (UT)   TotTime TOT SPO ANT DLE
TUS  2009-02-19  10h 55m  14  13  1   0
SDG  2009-02-19  11h 02m  24  23  1   0

TUS – Camera in Tucson operated by Carl Hergenrother
SDG – Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
TotTime – 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
DLE Delta Leonids


  1. 2/19/09 – 9:05pm – Houston, TX, 77077

    Please forgive my description, not sure how to word this correctly nor measure it correctly, but here is my best!

    Facing west, we noticed a bright white meteor in the sky overhead, crossing Orion’s Betelgeuse. The tail was very long and white fading to blue. I drew the size on paper, best to my visualization, and measured. If the meteor was 1cm, the white part of the tail was 15cm, and the blue tip 3 to 5 cm.

    About 20 degrees from the horizon, it flared and broke into 2 pieces and disappeared behind the trees.

    I am curious if this is a meteor, or debris from the Chinese satellite recently blown out of the sky, or debris from the Russian and USA satellite collision.

  2. Victoria,

    It is easy to tell them apart. Natural meteors enter the atmosphere at a tremendous velocity and rarely last more than 5 seconds. Most last less than 1 second. Rocket and satellite re-entries enter the atmosphere at a much slower speed and take from 30 seconds to a minute to completely disintegrate.

    You didn’t mention the duration of your event, but it sounds like a meteor.

    I hope this helps!

    Bob Lunsford
    San Diego, CA

  3. Bob-

    I would say it took about 10 seconds from when I noticed it slightly overhead, until it split and then was not visible due to trees in the neighbors yard. Long enough for me to notice it, point at it like a monkey while jumping up and down to get my daughters attention and say, “Look, a shooting star!” We all did the theatrical, “Ooooooooo!” and before it was out, she said, “Quick! Make a wish!” I went though ‘baby’ no, “puppy’, and decided on ‘happy” and then it disappeared behind the trees.

    I have seen the smaller ones, and they have been faint, and as you said, very fast. A quick blip, if you will. It is rare to see them here, with the weather and city lights, but last night was exceptionally clear.

    I have never seen anything so bright. Brighter than any star or planet that I have seen at anytime. What amazed me was that I had enough time to watch it travel, and really take it in and actually blink a few times without it disappearing.

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