Feb 19/20/21 Meteors

Tucson has been experiencing a nice stretch of clear nights the past few days. Any bouts of cirrus have been short-lived.  San Diego hasn’t been as lucky though the night of Feb 19/20 was clear.

The night of Feb 19/20 did see a few meteors that appeared to come from a common radiant. Four of the 18 meteors detected in Tucson that night and 2-4 of the 23 meteors detected in San Diego may be from a previously unknown (at least to me) radiant in the middle of Ophiuchus (rough positions, RA=257, DEC=+0, give or take a few degrees). No activity from this suspected radiant was observed on the next night.

Obs  Date (UT)   TotTime TOT SPO ANT DLE
TUS  2009-02-21  11h 07m  12  9   3   0
SDG  2009-02-21  10h 58m  3   3   0   0
TUS  2009-02-20  10h 58m  18  18  0   0
SDG  2009-02-20  10h 31m  23  20  2   1

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. Explain please,: At approx. 8:19 PM, Sat. 2/21—looking toward the west, see lrg bright planet that’s been there for a few nights. Looking North, see what appears to be another bright planet (45 degrees?) after 3-5 seconds it just vanished!! My husband also saw this. What may it have been???! Thanks.

  2. Rita,

    This sounds like an iridium flare, which is a short-lived glint of sunlight reflected off an iridium satellite. These can be very bright and can also be seen in daylight. As you described, they last just a few seconds. Predictions for these events are available on the internet, most notably at http://www.heavens-above.com You will need to sign in and provide precise geographical coordinates to obtain an accurate prediction.

    I hope this helps!

    Bob Lunsford
    San Diego, CA

  3. OK. One more……In Jan. ’82 I was stopped at a red light in Tulsa at about 4:30 a.m. I’ve always been observant of the sky and looking up, I saw 3 red lights forming a triangular shape. (I was facing north, and object about 80 degrees from my perspective) It moved very fast from west to east. Stopped equally fast; after remaining still for a period of time, moved a little more to the east, then shot away very fast to the north. (it was an instantaneous 45 degree turn!) I sat through 3-4 light changes to watch this. I know it was not a plane or a helicopter. I heard no sound from it. I have a clear memory of this event because it was so fascinating! I know this was a long time ago, just wonder if anyone else had ever reported seeing the three red lights (or any color) on a triangular shape moving this way? Thanks for your time. Rita

  4. Here’s one.
    February, around 1980, southeastern South Carolina, clear skies around 11pm. This triangular shaped object slowly flew overhead, literally, down my street heading west, went for about a mile, made a alow 90 degree turn, heading north, went about a mile, made another 90 degree turn heading east, then I lost it through the trees.
    It was very large. looked like the size of a 747 about 1500 feet up, but I heard no sound at all as it approached, as it flew overhead, or as it left. The lights were in a triangular shape underneath and they were white, not blinking. I saw no other lights of any color. The thought” beam me up Scotti” ran thru my head. It was an eerie feeling. There were no other persons outside to share this with. I read in a newspaper about 10 years later that someone saw the same thing I did but it was in a northern state. Any clues? I have always been fascinated with space stuff and UFO’s. Didn’t really believe in UFO’s til then, now ai’m not so sure.

    1. Hi Karen,

      Sorry for the late reply.

      I’m not sure what to make of your observation. It sure sounds like a craft, perhaps a blimp. I remember seeing what looked like a UFO fly over my house. It turned out to be the Goodyear blimp. At night it was hard to tell.

      I’m not a big believer in UFOs. Having spent many years observing the sky for new comets and asteroids, I never came across anything that could be considered a UFO. And trust me, we would have found them if they were out there and closer than the Moon.

      Though I doubt you saw an alien craft, it is still an Unidentified Flying Object.

      I’ll keep a look out for any more info on it,

      Thanks for writing and don’t hesitate to send in more observations,
      – Carl

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