February is usually a slow month for meteor watchers. Even though a surprisingly large number of meteor showers have been discovered in February over the past few years, all are minor and produce few meteors. With no major showers active and even the background rate of sporadic meteors (those showers not affiliated with any shower) near annual lows, February’s meteor rates are low. My observed numbers are even lower on most nights since this month has seen a large number of nights affected by high clouds.
My camera is set up to watch for four minor showers this week.
The North Delta Leonids (NDL) appear to be from a short-period comet with a perihelion of ~0.6 AU and inclination of ~5° resulting in a relatively slow velocity of ~20 km/s. It is possible that near-Earth asteroid 1999 RD32 is the parent of this family. RD32 is a large, dark object ~5 km in diameter and may be cometary in origin.
The Delta Serpentids (DSE) are from a longer period comet with a perihelion of ~1 au and inclination of ~130°. Comet C/1947 F2 (Becvar) is a possible source of these rapid (65 km/s) meteors.
The Beta Herculids (BHE) is a newly discovered shower discovered with data from the network that my camera is a part of. Orbits for the BHEs have not been determined yet though their velocity of ~57 km/s suggest a long-period comet origin. Even less is known about the Delta Leonids (DLE). With a velocity of 20 km/s these meteors are from a short-period comet or even a near-Earth asteroid.
Obs Date(UT) Time TOT SPO ANT NDL DSE BHE DLE SAL 2014-02-16 09h 53m 11 11 0 0 0 0 0 SAL 2014-02-15 11h 23m 22 18 0 1 1 1 1 SAL 2014-02-14 11h 43m 15 10 3 0 0 2 - SAL 2014-02-13 11h 11m 11 5 1 1 4 0 - SAL 2014-02-12 11h 52m 17 12 2 0 2 1 - SAL 2014-02-11 11h 54m 10 9 1 0 - - - SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother) VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother) 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 NDL - North Delta Leonids DSE - Delta Serpentids BHE - Beta Herculids DLE - Delta Leonids