Oct 5/6/7 Meteors and the October Draconids and October Epsilon Piscids

From Bob’s notes from 10/6: “Cloudy skies were in the forecast for last night but the sky remained mostly clear all night with clouds ringing the horizons, well away from my camera, which is pointed high in the northern sky. We are entering a time when there are many different showers active, unfortunately most of them are weak and only produce a couple of meteors per night. The full moon does not help the situation by reducing activity 75% with its bright glare. Rates should be near a nadir tonight and I expect we will see more activity as the moon wanes and as we approach the Orionid maximum on October 22nd.”

Bob’s note does a great job of explaining the recent conditions in Tucson as well. Though we’ve had cloud trouble on both nights. The forecast is for more of the same tonight.

Monitoring has begun for 2 additional showers, the October Draconids (DRA) and the October Epsilon Piscids (EPC). The October Draconids are also referred to as the Giacobinids after their parent comet Giacobini-Zinner. Though this shower has put on some of the best meteor displays in history (10,000 per hour in 1933 and 12,000 per hour in 1946), an average year sometimes produces little to no meteor activity. With no enhanced activity predicted for this year, rates should remain very low.

The second newly active shower is the October Epsilon Piscids. This shower was only identified recently in video meteor data. We don’t know much about it other than it is a short-duration shower with a low velocity relative to Earth (~19 km/s) which suggest a Jupiter family comet as its parent. This shower will, at most, produce a meteor per hour.

TUS 2009-10-07 01h 00m  2   1   1   0   0   0   0   0
SDG 2009-10-07 10h 34m  10  8   -   1   1   0   0   -
TUS 2009-10-06 00h 00m  Clouds all night
SDG 2009-10-06 10h 09m  24  16  -   6   1   0   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)
NTA – Northern Taurids (includes Antihelions)
STA – Southern Taurids (includes Antihelions)
ORI – Orionids
OCA – October Camelopardalids
DRA – October Draconids (Giacobinids)
EPC – September Epsilon Piscids