2016 December Geminids
Members waiting for viewing opportunities of the 2016 Geminid meteor shower were again thwarted by the weather. A mixture of rain , mist, low cloud and full moon reduced the possible brief glimpses of a clear sky to an absolute minimum. On the night of the 14th, dry for a change, a full moon and condensation trails reduced a rising radiant point to theory.
Meanwhile at the radio meteor receiving station strong bursts were detected over a few days. The detected peak seems to be concentrated around the evening of the 13th. With average speeds of 35 Km/s and ionisation heights of 90 - 100 Km the meteors have a fair proportion of Magnesium in their structure. The meteor `burst` characteristic of the Geminids is well illustrated by the attached images.( No.4).
Roll on Delta Arietids and December Ursids
2016 Perseid season
Sadly, true to the weather forecast, the conditions for a `Perseid` watch at the Astronomy Centre were dire. The only shower we experienced was of the H2O variety!. A small birthday group braved the evening for a organised guided tour and general discussion. Ironically, clear skies were available from Sunday night as the shower had already passed.
Follow the following link for a list of annual meteor showers......https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_meteor_showers
On the plus side we continue to monitor meteor activity using non- optical means. See below for the latest daily activity charts. The predicted peak of the shower was in agreement with actual observations also with a visible double peak during the event. Hourly counts ( on the morning of the 12th) due south were as follows....
00.00 to 01.00 - 90 / hour ( all times UTC )
01.00 to 02.00 - 101
02.00 to 03.00 - 117
03.00 to 04.00 - 131
04.00 to 05.00 - 137
05.00 to 06.00 - 130
06.00 to 07.00 - 119
Several very intense bursts were recorded during the session, these have been expanded and shown below.
Data is displayed in 24 hour chart recorder samples from about 15.00 to 15.00. Most `spikes` in the data represent the passing of a meteor between mid-France and Rochdale. Echoes from a radio beacon in France are only detectable when a meteor trail enhances the ionosphere, enabling radio reflections to occur. Observing the intensity and frequency of the spikes enable rough predictions to be made of impending shower conditions. ( Allow for earth rotation ).
All data supplied is extracted from radio derived observations using a VHF directional antenna, sensitive receiver and PC based data collection.
Charts of the last days data will be published daily after 1800. Click on image for larger version.
Back to normal
Somebody, somewhere saw the following multiple events in a clear sky ! Morning of the 12th.
An interesting shower over the end of 2015
The vertical peaks on the charts indicate the reflection of an over horizon beacon to the south as received in northern England. With the volume of the receiver turned up an audible `ringing ` is heard, this can last in excess of 8 seconds when a long duration fireball is detected. ( Ignore thick roughly horizontal line- this is the sky and receiver noise base level, interesting daily variations though?
Four examples of individual meteor trails.
An expanded single `ping` in the early hours of the 26th.