Mar 13/14/15 Meteors

Talk about nights at different extremes. Two nights ago had to rank as one of the most boring nights of the past 2 years. Not only were a small number (6) of meteors seen by my deep camera, no meteors were seen by my wide-angle fireball camera. For a clear night you should see at least 3 or 4 bright ones.

Last night (Sunday, March 14) was better. What really set it apart was a bright fireball seen over Tucson at ~10:14 pm (5:14 UT). Both of my cameras picked it up. The first movie shows the very early stages of the fireball. Since the SALSA2 camera only has a FOV of about 50×70 degrees, this camera was lucky to see any of it. In the movie the fireball is moving nearly due north (north is to the bottom) and first becomes visible just to the north of Leo.

In the next view, we are looking at images from a camera with a much wider FOV. Here the fireball continues to brighten as it moves towards the North. It is still brightening as it moves out of the FOV (about 20-30 degrees elevation). The apparent skipping motion is due to my computer dropping frames. Guess I need a better system…

The near-all-sky cam on Mount Hopkins caught another view of the fireball. Hopkins is located to the south of my place so the fireball appeared further north.

MMT all-sky camera on Mount Hopkins. Credit: Tim Pickering/University of Arizona.

The fireball was also seen on all-sky cameras in Sierra Vista and on Mount Lemmon. Interestingly, a brilliant fireball was observed to the west of Sacramento, CA at almost exactly the same time. The jury is out as to whether the AZ and CA fireballs are one and the same since they could easily be unrelated. If anyone witnessed the fireball, especially observers to the north of Tucson, leave a comment and let us know. Let’s hope tonight brings another one.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT GNO
TUS  2010-03-15   10h 25m   13  10  3   0
TUS  2010-03-14   08h 47m   6   6   0   0

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
GNO - Gamma Normids


  1. My all-sky color camera also picked up the Sunday night 2214 MST fireball, and it was also to my north, just close to the limit of the FOV. The camera is located SE of both Tucson and Sierra Vista, some 12 miles west of Bisbee. The coordinates are 31.4003N and 110.1408W. Other than that one transient event, it was a quiet night, similiar to Saturday night. I’ll be interested in seeing if there is a connection to the Sacramento fireball.

    1. Hi Doug,

      Thanks for the report. I meant to reply to your last comment but spaced on it. I’d also like to say hello from one comet hunter to another. Are you still hunting? I occasionally get out to do some visual hunting, though with the surveys and now WISE, I’m not sure there is much for visual hunters to find.

      Back to the fireball…
      Dirk from Japan’s Meteor/Meteorite blog has a movie of the Sacramento fireball. It is short lived and starts and ends in the sky over northern CA so it can’t be the same as the one we say. Still it is possible they are related, say the result of a recent split, but chances are its just a coincidence.

      – Carl

  2. I saw something looked like a fire ball with a long bright orange tail on march 14, 2010 between 1:30pm – 2pm toward the northeast sky of monroe,louisiana.

  3. Hello, I wanted to tell ANYONE who would listen. I too saw a bright fireball, that left a trail. However I saw it around 5:30am in the west or northwest sky, in Sacramento Ca. It caught my peripherals and lit up that part of the sky. It actually frightened me a bit. It fell and left a trail behind it that lingered for 5-10 seconds. Anyway, I wanted to share that. Im sure everyone around me on the freeway saw it as well. AMAZING!!!

  4. March 14, 2010 – 11:45 PM Sunday – I went out to take out the trash. When I was walking back down my driveway I saw for about 2 seconds a very large white fireball streaking North over my neighborhood here in Meridian, Mississippi.

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