Oct 16/17 Meteors

Rates were down from the previous night. Bob detected a decrease in Sporadics while I saw a decrease in  Orionids. We’ll see how things go tonight.

We are still ~5 or 6 days from maximum so the best of the Orionids is yet to come. According to the IMO’s Live ZHR graph, the Orionids are now producing ~10 meteors per hour for visual observers under dark skies during the last few hours of the night. We can expect that rate to climb to a max of anywhere from 30 to 70 per hour.

From Bob: “For some odd reason the sporadic rates were down nearly 50% from yesterday. It was clear all night long so it was most likely just a quirk and rates should recover tomorrow.”

TUS 2009-10-17 11h 01m  55  28  5   2   16  1   1   2           
SDG 2009-10-17 10h 51m  84  34  -   15  31  3   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/STA – Northern and Southern Taurids (includes Antihelions)
ORI – Orionids
ZTA – Zeta Taurids
OCU – October Ursa Majorids
SSA – Sigma Arietids


  1. Hello just last night I saw a shooting star. Im here in LA. and I was curious if anyone else saw any shooting stars. I would like to know will there be more showers tonight october 17th 2009? and what time if you know?


  2. Meteors can be seen regardless of whether there is a shower active or not. Of course you can see more if a major shower happens to be active. Right now the Orionids, a major annual shower, is active during the morning hours. This weekend and all of next week will offer enhanced meteor rates during the morning hours. A few may be seen during the evening hours but the constellation of Orion is not well placed until after midnight.

  3. What did we just see!!! Two lights in the sky over France at 19:15 GMT with additional double rings (30 degrees away). Moved at the speed of planes – leisurely crossed the entire sky – about the effective size of the moon only fuzzy (not dim) and somewhat pointed in the direction of motion.

    please comment here or send email

    1. Hi Priscilla,

      Interesting observations! After a bit of hunting around, it appears you saw a fuel dump from a recent satellite launch. At 16:12 GMT an Atlas V rocket was launched from Vandenberg AF base in California carrying the DMSP F18 weather satellite. According to a post on the Seesat-L satellite watcher’s list, a fuel dump from the Centaur upper stage used to kick the satellite into its final orbit was observed over Europe at the same time you were observing.

      Here’s a good description from an observer in Germany.

      Thanks for writing.
      – Carl

  4. hi guys, i’ve seen on 16/10/09 a falling meteorite ( i don’t know if it was part of a satelite or something like that) at 22.20-22.30… It was far from our location (central greece, i thought it could be landed in north evoia or in aegean) but i saw the light fade out before it reached the ground and i’m not so good in calculate distances. Propably it’s related with what bob or carl said before.. i heard nothing on tv so i searched in internet if someone else saw this.

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