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Meteors


Perseid by Honor Wheeler - 10th August 2014

20140810 hw21.49UTPerseid
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How to image the Perseids with your phone

The link below is to an article that shows you how to image the Perseids using your phone/tablet with the 'Camera FV-5' app for Andoid phones or the 'slow-shutter-cam' app for iPhone/iPad. Both apps allow you to set the exposure time & ISO manually.
https://www.spaceanswers.com/astronomy/how-to-image-the-perseids-with-your-phone/

Meteor News

Want to know more than the basics about Meteors & Meteor watching, then this eMagazine (ezine) is a pretty good place to start......
http://meteornews.org/category/ezine/

Photographic Observation

LEONIDS_met_8t.jpg
Leonid Meteor Shower

With the advent of digital cameras it is 'easy' to image a meteor although quite a lot of luck is required, all you need is a static tripod and a reasonable exposure time, in our light polluted area I would suggest no more than a 30s exposure time, set your camera to it's widest field of view, highest ASA rating (i.e. 1600) point your camera in the general direction of the radient and snap away - all night! If you are lucky you will get images like these
Equipment that might help...
DSLRLPFilter.jpg
Clip in LP Filter

Clip-in light pollution filters from Astronomik, for information about these filters visit our light pollution page note do not use 'narrowband' filters for meteors these will not work, just use a broadband light pollution filter to remove the sodium lines.
Timer Remote to automate the taking of images like this from Phottix this will allow you to sit back and log visually the meteors whilst also imaging them.
Camera 'clipper' this is a device that spins in front of the camera blocking the field periodically so if you do capture a meteor you can count how many times it was blocked, and thus it's speed.

Visual Observation

Unaided eye observation of meteors is easy and a good way to learn the constellations so great for beginners.

Planning:

  • Use the meteor diaryon this page to plan when to observe.
  • A dark site (not likely in Crayford) is preferred as light polluted skieswill flood out the numerous faint meteors and reduce meteor rates observed, so consider driving to a darker site.
  • Print off the radiant map from this page, this shows an 8 degree field around the radiant, if the meteor can be traced back to this area then it is from the shower otherwise it is a sporadic, note if you are observing before or after the predicted peak then an adjustment is needed and these can be found in the BAA handbook. Make sure you can recognise this area in the sky when you actually observe.

Equipment Check list

1. Norton's 2000.0 Star Atlas
2. Report Sheets Here is an Example of one filled out
3. Watch or clock - accurate to better than 30s and corrected just before you observe (remember to log observations in UT, I get in the habit of always writing 'UT' after the time to remove any doubt later
4. Red torch
5. Several soft pencils (and a sharpener)
6. mp3 player with voice recorder can be useful to note anything special, start recording, do a time check in the microphone and keep recording for the whole night, regular spoken time checks will help later, this gives you a datum if you need to check your log or if you are describing the meteors and want to log these descriptions.
7. Deck chair, there is nothing worse that standing up all night with your head back, sit laid back in a nice deck chair.
8. Warm Clothing - and a blanket (don't nod off though!)
9. Food and a flash of hot drink.
10. Stick about 600mm in length, to help trace back the meteor.
11. Clip board

Observing tips:

1. Patience. You might face long intervals between meteors (or clouds - remember to note if it is cloudy).
2. Concentration. Faint meteors are observed not just 'seen', they are easy to miss if you don't concentrate. If you are tired, cold, or nodding off, stop observing, take a break and have some coffee. It is better to report good observations for a shorter period than a long period where you weren’t really concentrating.
3. Accuracy. Eyesight and perception vary amongst observers, only report your observations not those that you hear from other observers but didn't actually see, it isn't a competition, you are aiming for a true record of what you observed.

OBSERVING

Once at the site, use the time that you spend getting dark adapted to record your name, address, and observing site (including latitude and longitude), and date on a few report sheets.. Note the sky conditions, mentioning whether any cloud, moonlight, fog or mist is present. Once you are fully dark-adapted, estimate the magnitude, to the nearest 0.25 mag, of the faintest star you can see in the area of sky being watched (not the zenith).
Now you are ready to begin the meteor watch.
Write down the start time of the watch in UT to the nearest minute and using 24hr clock notation.
Record the date in the double date format i.e. 2009/08/12-13 (night of the 12th, morning of the 13), this reduces confusion later.
Solo observers should watch the sky 50 degrees above the horizon (about the same altitude as the pole star in the UK), and 30-40 degrees to one side of the shower radiant expected to be active on the night in question this is the best place to see meteors.
As each meteor appears, note whether it was a shower member or a random sporadic, estimate how bright it was, and give its time of appearance to the nearest minute in UT.

Shower or sporadic meteor?

Project the path of the meteor backwards (a stick helps), If the projected path intersects the 8-degree radiant circle, the meteor is a shower member. Otherwise it is a sporadic.

Magnitude

Estimate meteor magnitudes by comparison with nearby stars. Only a rough estimate is necessary ( nearest magnitude). The following comparisons might be useful.
-12.5 Full Moon
-4 Venus
-2 Jupiter
-1 Sirius, Capella, Rigel, Arcturus
+1 Regulus, Spica, Pollux
+2 Belt stars of Orion, Beta Aurigae, Gamma Geminorum, Pointers of Plough, Polaris
+3 Delta Ursae Majoris, Gamma and Delta Leonis, Epsilon Geminorum
+4 Eta Persei, Delta Aurigae, Rho Leonis
+5 Faintest meteors generally visible to naked eye

Time

Note the time of the meteor

Description

Once you have the type, magnitude and time of the meteor noted you can record you description, for example..
• Did it explode?
• Did it have an intense colour?
• Did it have a long-duration persistent train?

Reporting:

Please submit your observations to the BAA Meteor Section as soon as possible after you have made them and to the Society at the next society night.
At the end of the watch, note the time to the nearest minute. Then you can stop, or have a break and start another watch later. Ideally, watches should last for an hour, or multiples of an hour, at a time. Monitor the sky conditions during each watch, as these may change.

Main Meteor Showers

Name
(link to dedicated page)
Dates
Peak dates
(link to radiant map)
RA
DEC
Speed (km/s)
ZHR
Rating
Quadrantids
1 January-5 January
3 January
15:20
+49
41
120
Strong
Virginids
1 March-15 April
several
13:00
-04
30
5
Medium
Lyrids
15 April-28 April
22 April
18:04
+34
49
15
Strong
Eta Aquarids
19 April-28 May
6 May
22:32
-01
66
60
Strong
Alpha Scorpiids
1 May-31 May
16 May
16:12
-21
35
5
Medium
Theta Ophiuchids
4 June-15 July
29 June
16:36
-15
29
2
Weak
Alpha Cygnids
11 July-30 July
18 July
20:20
+47
37
2
Weak
Sigma Capricornids
15 July-11 August
20 July
20:28
-15
30
5
Weak
South Delta Aquarids
12 July-19 August
28 July
22:36
-16
41
20
Strong
Alpha Capricornids
3 July-15 August
30 July
20:28
-10
23
4
Medium
North Delta Aquarids
15 July-25 August
8 August
22:20
-05
42
4
Medium
Perseids
17 July-24 August
12 August Radiant Map
03:04
+58
59
90
Strong
Piscids
1 September-30 September
20 September
00:32
+00
26
3
Medium
Orionids
2 October-7 November
21 October
06:20
+16
66
20
Strong
Northern Taurids
1 November-25 November
12 November
03:52
+22
29
5
Medium
Leonids
14 November-21 November
17 November
10:12
+22
71
variable
Irregular
Puppid-velids
2 December-16 December
12 December
09:00
-46
40
4
Medium
Geminids
7 December-17 December
14 December Radiant Map
07:28
+33
35
120
Strong
Ursids
17 December-26 December
22 December
14:28
+76
33
10
Strong


Other Meteor Showers


Name
Dates
Peak dates
RA
DEC
Speed (km/s)
ZHR
Rating
Gamma Velids
1 January-15 January
5 January
08:20
-47
35
2
Weak
Alpha Crucids
6 January-28 January
15 January
12:48
-63
50
3
Weak
Delta Cancrids
1 January-31 January
17 January
08:40
+20
28
4
Medium
Alpha Hydrids
5 January-14 February
19 January
08:52
-11
44
2
Weak
Eta Carinids
14 January-27 January
21 January
10:40
-59

2
Weak
Alpha Carinids
24 January-9 February
30 January
06:20
-54
25
2
Weak
Delta Velids
22 January-21 February
5 February
08:44
-52
35
1
Weak
Alpha Centaurids
28 January-21 February
7 February
14:00
-59
56
6
Medium
Omicron Centaurids
31 January-19 February
11 February
11:48
-56
51
2
Weak
Theta Centaurids
23 January-12 March
21 February
14:00
-41
60
4
Weak
February Leonids
1 February-28 February
several
11:00
+06
30
5
Medium
Delta Leonids
15 February-10 March
24 February
11:12
+16
23
2
Medium
Gamma Normids
25 February-22 March
13 March
16:36
-51
56
8
Medium
Delta Pavonids
11 March-16 April
30 March
13:00
-65
31
5
Weak
Librids
15 April-30 April
several
15:12
-18
30
5
Medium
Pi Puppids
15 April-28 April
23 April
07:20
-45
18
variable
Irregular
Alpha Bootids
14 April-12 May
28 April
14:32
+19
20
2
Weak
Mu Virginids
1 April-12 May
29 April
15:08
-07
30
2
Weak
Omega Capricornids
19 April-15 May
2 May
21:00
-22
50
2
Weak
Beta Corona Austrinids
23 April-30 May
16 May
18:56
-40
45
3
Weak
Omega Scorpiids
23 May-15 June
2 June
15:56
-20
21
5
Weak
Arietids
22 May-2 July
7 June
02:56
+24
38
54
Strong
Sagittarids
1 June-15 July
19 June
18:16
-23
30
5
Medium
Tau Cetids
18 June-4 July
27 June
01:36
-12
66
4
Weak
June Bootids
28 June-28 June
28 June
14:36
+49
14
variable
Irregular
Tau Aquarids
19 June-5 July
28 June
22:48
-12
63
7
Weak
July Pegasids
7 July-13 July
10 July
22:40
+15
70
3
Medium
July Phoenicids
10 July-16 July
13 July
02:08
-48
47
variable
Irregular
Sigma Capricornids
15 July-11 August
20 July
20:28
-15
30
5
Weak
Piscis Austrinids
15 July-10 August
28 July
22:44
-30
35
5
Medium
South Delta Aquarids
12 July-19 August
28 July
22:36
-16
41
20
Strong
South Iota Aquarids
25 July-15 August
4 August
22:16
-15
34
2
Medium
Kappa Cygnids
3 August-25 August
17 August
19:04
+59
25
3
Medium
North Iota Aquarids
11 August-31 August
20 August
21:48
-06
31
3
Medium
Pi Eridanids
20 August-5 September
25 August
03:28
-15
59
4
Weak
Gamma Doradids
19 August-6 September
28 August
04:36
-50
41
5
Weak
Alpha Aurigids
25 August-8 September
1 September
05:36
+42
66
7
Medium
September Perseids
5 September-10 October
8 September
04:00
+47
64
6
Medium
Aries-triangulids
9 September-16 September
12 September
02:00
+29
35
3
Weak
Kappa Aquarids
8 September-30 September
20 September
22:36
-02
16
3
Weak
October Arietids
1 October-31 October
8 October
02:08
+08
28
5
Medium
Giacobinids (Draconids)
6 October-10 October
8 October
17:28
+54
20
variable
Irregular
Delta Aurigids
22 September-23 October
10 October
05:40
+52
64
6
Medium
Epsilon Geminids
14 October-27 October
18 October
06:56
+27
71
2
Medium
Leo Minorids
21 October-23 October
22 October
10:48
+37
62
2
Weak
Southern Taurids
1 November-25 November
5 November
03:28
+13
27
5
Medium
Delta Eridanids
6 November-29 November
10 November
03:52
-09
31
2
Weak
Zeta Puppids
2 November-20 December
13 November
07:48
-42
41
3
Weak
Alpha Monocerotids
15 November-25 November
21 November
07:20
+03
60
variable
Irregular
Chi Orionids
25 November-31 December
2 December
05:28
+23
28
3
Medium
Phoenicids
28 November-9 December
6 December
01:12
-53
18
variable
Irregular
Monocerotids
27 November-17 December
9 December
06:48
+08
43
3
Medium
Sigma Hydrids
3 December-15 December
12 December
08:28
+02
58
2
Medium
Coma Berenicids
12 December-23 January
20 December
11:40
+25
65
5
Medium

Jargon Buster

Meteor Train

A meteor train appears as a faint nebulous streak of light left behind, along the track of a meteor, but AFTER the meteor itself has extinguished, about a quarter of meteors leave a momentary train and trains lasting over a second are quite rare .

Meteor Trail

The moving streak of light a meteor

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CMHASD - Meteors