Author: Koen Miskotte

Meteor observing in 2016: another very successful year!

Introduction Just like 2015, 2016 was an excellent year to observe meteors and there were several highlights. To recall a few: of course the impressive Perseid outburst in the night of 11-12 August 2016, a spectacular fireball of magnitude -12 on 7 August 2016 which I could observe visually and photographically (see picture above), the number of hours that I could observe which outnumbers my record number of observed hours of 1984 and my 80 000th observed meteor since 1980. All sky camera EN-98 31 fireballs were recorded between 16 March 2016 and 12 March 2017. Three of these were in the category of very bright events. On 17 March 3h16m UT a part of the trail of the famous St Patricks’ day fireball was recorded through a row of trees. A few days later, on 25 March 2016 at 23h01m UT a sporadic fireball of -8 was registered. This fireball appeared above Dutch/Belgian territory and has probably dropped some meteorites. Picture 1. March 25, 2016 23:00 UT fireball. The all-sky was active in the night of 22-23 December 2016 with a great surprise as a fireball trail was very well visible on an exposure with a completely cloudy sky. This sporadic -10 bolide may have dropped meteorites, unfortunately into the IJsselmeer (the largest lake of the Netherlands). The fireball of 28 November 2016 was a special case. At...

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Perseid observing expedition at Revest du Bion, Provence, Southern France

Figure 1. Perseid fireball of magnitude -8, captured during the second peak of the Perseid outburst of August 12, 2016 at 02:15 UT. Camera; Canon 5D. Lens: Canon EF 35 mm F 1.4 lens. Exposure time: 29 s. ISO: 1600. F 2.0. The persistent train was visually 30 seconds visible, but photographically it was visisble for 13 minutes. This report describes the observing sessions I had together with Michel Vandeputte at a small village, Revest du Bion in Southern France. The weather is in general very good in the Provence but this year we enjoyed exceptional good conditions. Thanks to the extreme clear sky with frequently a lot of Mistral wind this expedition was most successful. The Mistral wind is a very dry wind from the North which creates very clear skies and perfect observing conditions. In numbers, with 3050 observed meteors, this was the best Perseid observing expedition ever since 1986.  The total number of hours I could observe, 54.52 hours, was the highest amount of observing time since 1985. This year I travelled with the High Speed train TGV from Brussels to Marseille.  Although I travelled with this kind of trains before, it is still a great experience. You travel at about 300 km per hour to the sunny region of Southern France. From Marseille I took a local train to Manosque where the family Vandeputte picked...

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Obituary: Peter Bus (1951-2016)

Peter Bus (1951-2016) It was a sad day and a great shock when the editors of eRadiant heard about the sudden death of their colleague editor, the Dutch comet and meteor observer Peter Bus. Peter passed away on June 25, 2016. Peter was an important member of the editorial board and was very interested in meteor work aside from his great passion for comets. At the start of his career, Peter used to do visual observations from the J. C. Kapteyn Observatory near Roden, the Netherlands, Together with other famous Dutch amateur astronomers such as Reinder Bouma, Georg Comello and Henk Feijth (†1997). Peter started with systematic forward scatter radio observations in the 1990s. He wrote many articles about his radio observations in eRadiant. Further he took care of observing calls for comets brighter than magnitude +8. The last few years this had all become a bit less due to his deteriorating health. Peter was also very much appreciated among amateurs for his feedback. Whenever one asked him to check a paper, there was no doubt that he would reply with very valuable remarks and recommendations which improved the article to a higher level. He had also a great knowledge of the literature in the domain of comets and meteor work. The author could participate a few times together with Peter in the famous Leonid expeditions of the Dutch Meteor Society...

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Perseids 2015, a global analysis

Brilliant composite image of 110 Perseids captured, using a Canon 5D at ISO1600, 20 seconds exposures and a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens (set at f/2.2). Location: Balsam Provincial Park on the Kawartha Lakes. Image credit: Pierre Martin, Ottawa, Canada. An interesting Perseids return occurred in 2015, leading up to the 2016 appearance of the stream when a significantly increased activity is expected due to the presence of multiple dust trails from e.g. 1076 and 1862. On 13 August 2015 increased activity has been observed over North America coinciding with the traditional Perseid maximum (ZHR 120 – 140 instead of 100). Another short peak was observed from Europe around 21h UT. It is possible that this was just the end of the increased activity over Asia around 18h39m UT which had been predicted by Jérémie Vaubaillon or otherwise, an earlier than expected appearance of the filament which was predicted for 12 August 2015 around 23h UT (Jenniskens, 2006). Unfortunately this could be confirmed neither by radio, nor by CAMS observations. 1       Introduction In May and June 2015 I made a global analysis of the 2015 Lyrids (Miskotte, 2015). I used the data which had been submitted by many observers to the IMO. This was the first time that I made an analyses based on data not provided by Dutch Meteor Society observers. The result was rather satisfactory and I decided to repeat...

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Geminids 2015 analysis

The 2015 Geminids have been successfully observed and an analysis has been made, based on all available data. The maximum activity occurred beyond the European observing window and could not be taken into account due to a lack of data from the Far East. The rising slope of the activity profile before the predicted time of maximum activity displayed less strong activity compared to a number of previously well observed Geminid returns. The 2015 Geminid observations are not conclusive about the question whether or not the maximum activity of the Geminid meteor shower is on the wane. 1       Introduction The Geminids are the most active meteor shower of the ‘Big Three’. During a complete clear night 13–14 December any active and experienced observer may count more than 1000 meteors in a single night! The shower displays also a nice brightness profile. Before and during the maximum the fainter meteors are prominent, immediately followed by a significant increase in the average brightness. This results almost always in a number of fireballs. A nice and probably rather extreme example of this occurred in 2007 (Vandeputte, 2008). At this occasion about 18 different Geminid meteors were seen with magnitudes between -3 and -8 in just five hours of time while observing in Portugal! The author has published a detailed article in 2010 about the Geminids (Miskotte et al., 2010; Miskotte et al.,...

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