August 9/10 Meteors

To my new readers, many coming over from the main WordPress page, welcome and thanks for reading. I usually provide a daily summary of the meteors detected by a number of cameras I operate at my home. Currently I have 2 cameras up and running. Both cameras run automatically all night long and use a program called MetRec to identify and characterize any meteors.

The near all-sky camera (denoted as ALLS in the table below)  can watch most of the sky down to an elevation of ~20-30° off the horizon. It can detect meteors that are as faint as the brightest stars so it really doesn’t go very faint. Still, this camera is designed to watch for brilliant fireballs and gives a good idea of the number of obviously bright meteors.

My other camera, SALSA3, covers a much smaller area of sky but can see much fainter (down to 2nd-3rd magnitude). This is still not faint enough to compete with the human eye at suburban or darker site. Of course, the positive about running cameras is I can sleep while they tirelessly watch the sky.

The nights are clear once again over Tucson and we didn’t have much cloud trouble last night. Meteor rates continue to climb. Interestingly, the Perseids only make up half of the detected meteors. This will change over the next few nights when the Perseids should dominate.

Visual reports to the International Meteor Organization are suggesting visual rates of ~25 Perseids per hour. That is 25 meteors per hour for observers under a very dark sky when the Perseid radiant is nearly overhead (about 3-4 am). For most of us the rates will be half to a third of this value. Rates should increase 4-fold by the night of maximum.

SAL3 2010-08-10   08h 26m   46  11  3   1   0   24  2   1   1   2   1
ALLS 2010-08-10   09h 17m   33  5   0   1   0   17  1   1   4   3   1

SAL3 - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
ALLS - Near all-sky camera in Tucson (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 - Antihelion
CAP - Alpha Capricornids
PAU - Piscis Austrinids
PER - Perseids
SDA - Southern Delta Aquariids
AUP - August Piscids
BPE - Beta Perseids
ERI - Eta Eridanids
KCG - Kappa Cygnids

1 Comment

  1. Hi Carl, this is *very* interesting. How do you know one meteor is a “perseid”? Is it based on the position of the sky where the cameras catch it?


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