Archive

Archive for the ‘Meteor Storm’ Category

11/17/2016 – Ephemeris – The Leonid meteor shower will be hampered by the Moon tomorrow morning

November 17, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, November 17th.  The Sun will rise at 7:43.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 5:12.  The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 8:39 this evening.

The Leonid meteor shower, which reaches peak activity today is going to be washed out by the bright Moon.  The International Meteor Organization doesn’t have anything specific on it this year.  On most years, it produces only 15 meteors an hour tops.  However about every 33 years or so all heaven breaks loose.  From the predictions I’ve seen the fun starts in 2034 and lasts a few years.  The reason for the spectacular meteor storms, as they call them, is that the responsible comet, 55P Tempel-Tuttle, has a debris clump that hasn’t fanned out much along its orbit, so we get intense meteor activity when the comet again enters the inner solar system.  It’s expected back in 2031 with its main cloud of meteoroids a couple of years later.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Leonid Radiant

Leonid meteor radiant at about 2 a.m. from Traverse City.  Credit:  My LookingUp program.

1833 meteor storm

A famous woodcut of the 1833 Leonid meteor storm.

Advertisements

Meteor Watch cloud and meteor status May 23/24, 2014

May 23, 2014 1 comment

May 24, 5;33 a.m. EDT

Just got back from the Dune Climb.  Yes Virginia there are Camelopardalids.  Just not many of them.  I saw about 10 meteors overnight with just over half Camelopardalids.  Now I was busy with other things, running the star party.  However it seemed that of the ones I saw, there were a better an average, compared to the Perseids, number of bright ones.  One also left a smokey train that was visible for a few seconds.  I didn’t have my binoculars with me to view it longer.  But it was impressive.  We had maybe 40-50 folks come out, coming and going over the night, with about 11 sticking it out to the bitter end at 4 a.m.

May 23, 5:32 p.m. EDT

Weather is still great.  Picked up a tweet saying the the Camelopardalids are being picked up via the radio reflection of their ionized trains.

Bob Moler (robertcmoler) on Twitter 2014-05-23 17-27-21I’m going to head out in a half hour to the Visitors Center (see below) for the talk and to pick up some traffic cones.

May 23, 12:45 p.m. EDT

The weather is holding.  The forecast is for clear skies through Sunday daytime.  It should be a great Memorial Day weekend. For those venturing out to observe the meteor storm (we hope) dress warmly.  The temperatures in northern Michigan will drop to the mid 40s.  I plan to bring a light coat and my winter coat.  For those who wish to lie on the ground to see the sky show bring two blankets one under you and one over you.  It will get dewy.  Hat, gloves and a thermos of warm drinks will also be welcome.   Winter boots might be welcome for those who tend to get cold feet.  Meteor watching is not an active pursuit, so you may want to walk around or climb up the dune a ways to keep warm. Remember there’s a talk by astronomer Tyler Nordgren at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Philip A. Hart Visitor Center near the corner of M72 and M22 in Empire at 7 p.m. Sunset will be at 9:15 p.m.. The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) will be ready to observe the planets at the Dune Climb by 10 p.m.

May 22, 11:00 p.m. EDT

This is a pre-post entry.  The blog will be published at noon on the 23rd and be updated as necessary.  New updates will appear above older ones.  I may also tweet.  My twitter handle is @robertcmoler.  The hashtag for the meteor shower appears to be #Camelopardalids.  I hope you’re a good speller. The National Weather Service for tomorrow (Friday) and tomorrow night is for decreasing clouds during the day and mostly clear tomorrow night.  Anttilla Danko’s Clear Sky Chart for the Leelanau School’s Lanphier Observatory also shows clear skies for the night of the 23rd/24th at this time.  The observatory is located a few miles northeast of the Dune Climb area. New to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore? Here’s their website:  http://www.nps.gov/slbe/index.htm Here’s a link to the map of the park.  The Dune Climb is at points 7 & 8 on highway M109 just south of Glen Haven.

05/23/2014 – Ephemeris – Possible Meteor Storm overnight tonight

May 23, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, May 23rd.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 5 minutes, setting at 9:12.   The moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:45 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:05.

If you want to see a possible meteor storm, go out tomorrow morning and find a dark location.  The meteors will be seen all over the sky, but will seem to come from the north.  The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will be at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the Dune Climb with telescopes starting at 10 p.m. tonight, weather permitting, to enjoy the other wonders of the sky while we wait for the meteor storm to start.  Dress warmly, bring a blanket or lounge chair so you can comfortably look up.  The first meteors may show by 1:40 a.m.  but the peak activity is expected about 3 a.m., but that estimate may be off by an hour or more.  Check bobmoler.wordpress.com for cloud and meteor status  from noon  through 4 a.m. if it’s clear.  The latter part depends on getting a decent data signal.  The dunes seem to be the end of the world as far as cell phone service goes.  I might have to climb the dune to get a good signal.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Remember these meteors should be visible from anywhere in the continental United States.  Convert the times to your location.  3 a.m. EDT is 7 hours UT.

Start the evening tonight with a talk by Dr. Tyler Nordgren, astronomer, artist and dark sky advocate at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire at 7 p.m. Afterward he will be signing copies of his beautiful new poster See the Stars from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore featuring the Great and Little Bear constellations and the bluffs of the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Manitou Islands.  After that, weather permitting see the sunset from many of the park’s locations, then, for the hardy, settle down for an all night vigil for the possible meteor storm with the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at the Dune Climb.  We’ll be viewing out the planets and the other wonders of the spring and summer skies as we wait for the meteors to appear.

Camelopardalids Radiant

The expected radiant for the meteors of the May Camelopardalids, the meteors from the comet 209P/LINEAR at 3 a.m. on May 24, 2014. Credit: My LookingUp program.

Camelopardalids B&W

Same chart as above but black on white to save ink if you print it.

Here’s the culprit:  Comet 209P/LINEAR

This May 17, 2014 image of Comet 209/LINEAR is the average of 5, 180-second exposures, taken remotely with the PlaneWave 17″+ Paramount ME+STL-6303E robotic unit of the Virtual Telescope Project. The telescope tracked the comet, so stars are trailing. This comet has the potential to generate an exceptional meteor shower (Camelopardalids) on May 24, 2014. Gianluca Masi / Virtual Telescope Project

Image and caption above from the Planetary Society blog from Bruce Betts:  http://www.planetary.org/blogs/bruce-betts/20140522-one-night-only-a-new-meteor.html.

Want to find the comet?

209P/LINEAR finder chart

Finder chart for Comet 209P/LINEAR for 11 p.m. Note the dates are UT, 11 p.m. the 23rd is 3 a.m. UT on the 24th. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Ephemeris

Ephemeris of positions for Comet 209P/LINEAR for May 20, 2014 to June 8, 2014 from the Minor Planet Center.

Got to http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/MPEph/MPEph.html to print your own ephemeris for this or any comet.  For purposes of this comet the comet name is: 209P/LINEAR.

All these images may be enlarged by clicking on them.

Note that:

Delta is the distance from Earth in Astronomical Units (AU)

r is the comet’s distance from the sun in AU.

El is the elongation in degrees from the sun

Ph. is the phase angle, not a big deal for comets.

m2 is the magnitude of the comet’s coma.  Comets appear dimmer than their magnitude suggests.

 

05/22/2014 – Ephemeris – Meteor storms past and maybe this Saturday morning

May 22, 2014 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 22nd.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 3 minutes, setting at 9:11.   The moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 3:14 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:06.

The meteors from Comet 209P/LINEAR have not been completely unseen in the past, but their occurrence had never piqued the interest of meteor observers before.  So the comet has left debris in its orbit.  Some astronomers have been doing calculations on the orbital dynamics of a hypothetical meteor sward that may have developed near the comet.  These swarms are not unprecedented.  There’s the Leonid meteor storms that come every 33 years around November 17th that occur when its comet is near the Earth.  Another is the less dramatic Draconids of early October, when its comet Giacobini-Zinner is in the neighborhood.  The meteor storm is expected to peak around 3 a.m. this Saturday morning the 24th.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

1833 meteor storm

A famous woodcut of the 1833 Leonid meteor storm.

A photograph of the 1966 Leonid meteor storm by A. Scott Murrell.  40 meteors can be counted in the 10-12 minute exposure.  Credit:  P. Jenniskens/NASA-ARC http://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/

A photograph of the 1966 Leonid meteor storm by A. Scott Murrell. 40 meteors can be counted in the 10-12 minute exposure. Credit: P. Jenniskens/NASA-ARC http://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/.