October turned out to be another great month for meteor observing. For the 2nd month in a row a meteor was observed on every single night in the month. As of last night (stats to be posted in the next summary) the consecutive meteor detection streak stands at 67 nights. That’s about 1/6th of a year which is rather impressive. With no major storms in the forecast the streak should continue on for some time. The downside is that lack of clouds means lack of rain and this dry spell isn’t helping the long-term drought here in the southwestern US.
For the month of November, the SALSA3 camera detected 732 meteors over all 31 nights. Total time on the sky was 291.4 hours.
The breakdown of detected meteors for the month is:
Obs Mon Time TOT SPO ANT NTA STA ORI ETT BCN AND LEO NOO OER AMO PHO KDR PSU HYD SAL3 Oct 291.4h 732 414 13 69 52 41 6 8 8 79 22 5 3 1 1 3 8
Two interesting meteor events happened this past week. First a brilliant fireball was seen over southern AZ on the night of Nov 28/29 at ~11:53 pm. The fireball was picked up by my all-sky cam and was even seen as far south as Hermosillo were Salvador Aguirre’s camera picked it up. I’ll have more on this event later, for now follow the latest on James Gamble’s excellent El Paso AllSky blog.
The second event of the past week was enhanced activity from the little known November Orionids (NOO) shower. This shower is not to be confused with the very well observed Orionids in October. The NOO was created by Comet Mellish, a bright Halley-type comet with a ~145 year period. Only seen in 1917, the comet is due back around 2062 (a year after Halley’s next return). A recent study by Peter Veres et al. found that the NOO were released by Comet Mellish between 4000-5000 years ago. Another shower, the December Monocerotids, were also created by C/Mellish but were released more recently.
Bob Lunsford was the first to call attention to the uptick in NOO activity with a post on the meteorobs list. He detected 8 NOO on the night of Nov 28/29. My cameras also saw enhanced activity that night with SALSA3 seeing 8 NOO and the near all-sky camera 5 NOO. On most nights rates were only 1 or 2 per night. Only the nights of Nov 27/28 (4 total) and 28/29 (13 total) saw any enhancement. This activity does seem to have occurred a few nights before the predicted peak of the NOO.
Though a very minor shower visually, radar observations by the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar tell a different story. For the radar the NOO is one of the best meteors during the last third of the year. Radar can detect meteors much smaller and fainter than what the eye can see. This means that most of the shower’s mass is in very fine particles. So either Comet Mellish releases a very large number of small particles versus larger ones or the NOO stream has been particle size sorted by some mechanism over the past 4000-5000 years.
Obs Date(UT) Time TOT SPO ANT LEO AND NOO HYD PHO PSU KDR SAL3 2010-11-30 12h 32m 32 18 2 6 0 1 1 0 3 1 ALLS 2010-11-30 12h 32m 12 8 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 SAL3 2010-11-29 11h 09m 30 16 2 2 0 8 2 0 0 - ALLS 2010-11-29 11h 24m 18 8 3 1 0 5 0 0 1 - SAL3 2010-11-28 12h 00m 32 23 2 2 0 4 0 1 - - ALLS 2010-11-28 12h 10m 13 10 2 1 0 0 0 0 - - SAL3 2010-11-27 11h 59m 28 14 7 3 1 1 2 - - - ALLS 2010-11-27 12h 14m 19 13 1 3 0 2 0 - - - SAL3 2010-11-26 09h 27m 22 14 0 1 1 3 3 - - - ALLS 2010-11-26 09h 42m 16 12 0 1 0 2 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 LEO - Leonids AND - Andromedids NOO - November Orionids HYD - Sigma Hydrids PHO - Phoenicids PSU - Psi Ursa Majorids KDR - Kappa Draconids