September 3/4 to 8/9 Meteors

The past 2 nights were plagued with clouds though the previous 4 nights were clear. The monsoon moisture rolled back in the past few days. Even though parts of Tucson got dumped on, my house got its usual sprinkles and nothing more. It has dried out once again which means the clear nights should continue for the next few nights.

Last night was the peak of the September Perseids. This minor shower produced an unexpectedly high level of activity back in 2008. (Actually the event that kicked off this blog.) This year saw no increase in activity though 3 of 8 bright meteors picked up by the wide-field camera were September Perseids.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AUR SPE
SAL3 2010-09-09   05h 30m   21  18  2   -   1
ALLS 2010-09-09   10h 10m   8   4   1   -   3
SAL3 2010-09-08   00h 12m   3   3   0   -   0
SAL3 2010-09-07   06h 29m   29  24  4   -   1
ALLS 2010-09-07   06h 49m   10  9   1   -   1
SAL3 2010-09-06   09h 39m   33  29  3   0   1
ALLS 2010-09-06   10h 09m   11  8   0   2   1
SAL3 2010-09-05   09h 38m   23  17  2   2   2
ALLS 2010-09-05   10h 05m   11  5   3   3   -
SAL3 2010-09-04   09h 31m   35  28  3   0   4
ALLS 2010-09-04   09h 48m   16  11  2   0   4

SAL3 - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
ALLS - Near all-sky camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIST - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
SDG - Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
Time - 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
AUR - Alpha Aurigids
SPE - September Perseids


  1. Hello,I live in Moraira on the Costa Blanca in Spain. Last night (10 September) I saw what I think was a comet, it was really beautiful but I am completely ignorant about astronomy. Do you know what it was?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Deidre,

      My guess is that you saw a fireball which is just another name for a bright meteor. Some of the bigger meteors enter the atmosphere slowly and can get very bright and least for a few seconds. They can also come in all different colors though most are a whitish-blue or whitish-green. Due to their bright “heads” and sometimes long tails they can be confused with comets. A comet is a much more distant object. Since they are so far away they doesn’t appear to move very fast. Plus there are no bright comets currently visible.

      So I’d bet that you saw a spectacular fireball. I’ve seen thousands of meteors but only a handful of really good fireballs and they really are once in a lifetime events.

      Thanks for writing,
      – Carl

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