May 15/16/17/18 Meteors

The low meteor rates of May continue. This was especially true over Tucson (or at least the small patch of sky I monitor) on the night of May 16/17. That night was clear with only a few bouts of very light cirrus. Still my system detected ZERO meteors! I cannot remember another night that was clear and produced nothing. My camera was definitely working since it picked up a police helicopter that was circling overhead. Interestingly, rates were normal (10 and 8 per night) on the nights preceding and following the 16/17th.

In San Diego, Bob has been fighting clouds. From his notes:”The past two nights have seen mostly cloudy skies as is usual this time of year along the Pacific coast. I did manage short sessions just before dawn on May 16 and just after dark on Saturday evening.”

Last week, I was proclaiming how great the weather has been for observing here in Tucson. In fact I said: “The weather is great. May is in the middle of Tucson’s dry season. Though high cirrus is possible and you can’t rule out the rare rain event, it is usually hot and bone dry. Yesterday’s high was 101F and the humidity was a paltry 4%.”

I should have known better. Yesterday so an impulse of moisture into southern Arizona. Though not much happened we did get a few sprinkles and even heard a rumble of thunder. According to the forecast, rain and thunder is a possibility for the remainder of the week. Though the summer monsoon usually doesn’t begin until late June or early July, the fact that we are getting some moisture in mid-May shows that it isn’t too far away. Personally I’d trade many a summer night of observing for some great thunderstorms and rain.

Obs  Date (UT)   TotTime TOT SPO ANT ETA
TUS  2009-05-18  07h 30m  8   3   5   0
TUS  2009-05-17  06h 00m  0   0   0   0
SDG  2009-05-17  02h 00m  3   2   1   0
TUS  2009-05-16  08h 20m  10  7   2   1
SDG  2009-05-16  02h 30m  5   2   1   2

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
SPOSporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT – Antihelions
ETA – Eta Aquarids