Jan 9/10 to 17/18 Meteors

We are in the midst of the early year doldrums, meteor-wise. Rates are low and will remain so until the Lyrids flare up in April. Still a surprise outburst can happen at any time so my 2 cameras will be running every clear (and even most cloudy) nights.

The large scatter in nightly meteor detections is due to changes in sky conditions. For example, it was cloudy most of the night. Luckily I was able to grab a single meteor in a short-lived hole in the clouds (what astronomers affectionately call a “sucker hole”). The weather forecast is pretty bad for the rest of the week. Though to be honest, I’ll be glad to trade a week’s worth of meteors for a few inches of much-needed rain.

Bob’s notes from the night of Jan 14/15 : “Skies were clear again tonight but the good meteor rates seen during the first half of the month are now half their prior strength. The drop in rates is usually a bit more gradual this time of year.”

… from the night of Jan 12/13 : “On the 13th, I only observed three meteors before the skies were clouded over the remainder of the night. Skies were much better tonight but the meteor activity was low.”

… from the night of Jan 11/12 : “This was another dusk to dawn session. Despite the occasional interference from cirrus clouds, rates were good for this time of year.”

… from the night of Jan 10/11 :  “The night of the 10th was lost due to thick cirrus. The skies had cleared during the day allowing dusk to dawn coverage on the 11th. Normal rates for this time of the year were observed.”

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT DLM JLE XCB SCC
TUS  2010-01-18   00h 30m   1   1   0   0   0   -   0
TUS  2010-01-17   11h 46m   15  11  1   3   0   -   0
TUS  2010-01-16   07h 39m   3   2   0   1   0   0   0
TUS  2010-01-15   11h 54m   15  12  1   1   0   0   0
SDG  2010-01-15   09h 12m   33  27  2   4   -   0   0
TUS  2010-01-14   11h 14m   6   3   0   3   0   1   -
SDG  2010-01-14   10h 53m   29  22  4   3   -   0   -
TUS  2010-01-13   12h 02m   14  12  2   0   0   0   -
SDG  2010-01-13             3   3   0   0   -   0   -
TUS  2010-01-12   11h 44m   22  17  4   1   0   0   -
SDG  2010-01-12   11h 37m   54  44  4   4   -   2   -
TUS  2010-01-11   06h 28m   22  14  1   4   0   3   -
SDG  2010-01-11   11h 40m   49  40  5   4   -   -   -
TUS  2010-01-10   11h 49m   8   6   2   0   0   0   -
SDG  2010-01-10   00h 00m   Clouds / No Meteors

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
DLM - December Leonis Minorids
AHY - Alpha Hydrids
JLE - January Leonids
QUA - Quadrantids
XCB - Xi Coronae Borealids


  1. I’m interested in knowing if anyone saw the 2 huge meteors falling to the east last evening around 5:25PM Eastern time. I am located in south-central PA and received a call from a friend traveling from Maryland to Virginia who witnessed the first BIG one also. It glowed a bright, yet soft shade of green. The biggest one I had ever seen. About 15 minutes later I saw another one, going the same direction, but a bit further away. Just as bright and big, though.

    1. Yes, I saw one of them! Coolest thing I have ever seen. I was driving southbound on I-295 near route 30. Looked like the trail end of a fireworks display but instead of “floating” toward the ground, it looked like a rocket. It fizzled out so fast, I almost wasn’t sure I was seeing what I was seeing. I was also looking right into the southwestern sky and the horizon was still bright orange, so the light looked whitish yellow to me. The cloud trail lasted a good 2 minutes.

  2. I saw the same thing. i am in NE Baltimore County. About 530-6 pm last night, i was looking south toward the moon and saw it as it broke into two pieces. Very bright white/yellow color. It streaked down a little on an angle and burned out. The trail lasted for a while as the moon reflection was fairly bright. A little while later i drove north and saw what i thought to be helicopters and planes (2 total) flying in the same area. it had to be at least in Carroll County. It did look exactly like an asymetrical firework. Has anyone identified or documented anything? (I need proof, everyone at my daughter’s basketball game is convinced i need to see a therapist)

  3. can any one help, around jan 2010 i heard on the radio in England that NASA were tracking an object 80,000 some thing from the earth and they were not sure what it was, but was thought to be a large asteroid.
    ive found nothing on the net only a small mention, is this a cover up, where some information got out before the lid went on? did any one hear any thing? it was the same day haiti had the quake.

  4. Yes, I saw one of the meteors @ 5:30pm, Monday, January 18, 2010. I was traveling south on Route 130 in Edgewater Park. I am assuming many in front of me saw it also because drivers were hitting their brakes to slow down. I realized almost right away that it was a meteor I saw. The bright light appeared suddenly and it traveled downward. Then just as sudden, the light burst. I think it’s pretty groovy I got to see that.

  5. Thanks everyone for sharing your glimpse of the meteor! It’s exciting to see where everyone was, when they caught it.

  6. My wife and I saw it at about 5:40 PM. We were traveling south on PA 39 (we were about 5 miles north of Hershey, PA)and the fireball appeared in our southern sky and seemd to be falling nearly straight down or mabe with a slight north to south trajectory. The size, apparent proximity to where we were, and brightness were unbelievable. It was round with a pointed tail and quickly disintegrated, but not before several small fragments could be seen flaking off the main body. Many times larger/brighter than any planet or star.

  7. yes I saw it too, Biggest one I’ve ever see, seemed to streak through the sky forever, and one point it went out about and then lightback up right away, was truely amazing

  8. I see that they finally posted more information about it on the internet. When it exploded, part of it landed in a doctor’s office in Lorton, VA.

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