Oct 25/26/27/28 Meteors

In the last ‘Meteor’ post, I was all excited about getting a clear night (Oct 25/26) to catch some Orionids. I guess I spoke too soon. Even though there were no obvious clouds in all of AZ on the IR satellite image, there were clouds over Tucson. I’ve seen this before where the entire state is clear but the Tucson valley forms a cap of clouds. Luckily, the conditions have gotten better and last night (Oct 27/28) was crystal clear.

Last night marked the 33rd straight night with a meteor detection. Sure, one of those nights consisted of a single meteor between the clouds but it is still an impressive run. With no storms in the forecast, the streak still has a way to go.

The Orionids are on the downswing but still make up half of the detected meteors. This is true on both the near all-sky fireball camera as well as the deeper, smaller FOV camera. Unfortunately the Moon is still an issue for visual observers. Currently it is sitting right on top of the Orionid radiant (as well as on top of Comet Hartley 2).

Speaking of Comet Hartley 2, the possibility of seeing ‘Hartley-ids’ next week has made the mainstream news. A NASA Science News story suggests that two bright fireballs, with an apparent common origin seen on Oct. 16 from Western Ontario and Alabama, might be from Hartley 2. With Earth making its closest approach to Hartley 2’s orbit on Nov 2/3, any shower related to Hartley 2 will appear to radiate from Cygnus.

Though the current orbit of Hartley 2 does come within 0.068 AU of Earth and in the past it came even closer (~0.03 AU) that really is not close enough to expect any meteors. Most of the showers we see come much closer to Earth’s orbit. Peter Jennsiken’s book ‘Meteors and Their Parent Comets’ does show that Hartley 2 may produce ‘Hartley-ids’ staring in the 2050/2060 time frame. Even with a very low probability of any ‘Hartley-ids’ this year the IMO video network of cameras will be up and running. If there are any Hartley-ids (actually the shower will probably be named ‘???? Cygnids’ after a bright star nearest to the radiant) we should catch them.

SAL3 2010-10-28   07h 12m   35  12  2   2   17  1   0   1   0   0
ALLS 2010-10-28   11h 48m   18  6   1   0   9   1   1   0   0   0
SAL3 2010-10-27   06h 40m   40  12  2   6   11  1   2   0   2   4
ALLS 2010-10-27   11h 41m   19  7   1   0   10  1   0   0   0   0
SAL3 2010-10-26   04h 31m   18  4   1   0   11  0   0   0   1   1
ALLS 2010-10-26   04h 39m   13  4   0   0   6   0   0   1   1   1

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  
NTA - Northern Taurids
STA - Southern Taurids 
ORI - Orionids
EGE - Epsilon Geminids
LMI - Leonis Minorids
OUI - October Ursa Minorids
ETT - Eta Taurids
BCN - Beta Cancrids