Author: Paul Jones

Early May, 2017 ACAC observations of the eta Aquariid meteor shower from north Florida

Greetings again all, Members of the ACAC have already been out a few times in the pre-dawn (0400 – 0600 a.m.) monitoring the build-up of the 2017 eta Aquariids (ETAs) towards their maximum activity level over the next several mornings. Dave and Brenda Branchett have led the way from Deltona, Florida with several observations of moderate ETA activity so far.  I managed one hour’s observation  from the “meteor roof” of my home yesterday morning.  Here is the report on what we’ve been seeing: Observed for radiants: ETA:  eta Aquariids ANT: Anthelions ARC: April rho Cygnids SPO sporadic meteors May 3/4, 2017 Observer: Paul Jones. Location: 3609 Crazy Horse Trail, St. Augustine, Florida, Lat: 29.89.11 N, Long: 81.30.31 W (5 miles SW of St. Augustine, Florida) 0430 – 0530 EDT (0830 – 0930 UT) Teff: 1.0 hour, no breaks, LM: 5.2 sky conditions: clear, slight haze, facing: south 5 ETA: 0, +3(2), +4(2) 2 ANT: +2(2) 9 SPO: +1, +2, +3(3), +4(4) 16 total meteors All the ETAs were short-pathed (which is unusual for them).  The zero magnitude ETA flared a pretty golden color and left a short train.  The two ANT meteors were both long, slow and bright – very pretty meteors. Here are Dave and Brenda’s reports: Observer: Dave Branchett Location:  Lat 28.8766 deg N Lat 81.1803 deg W Private residence Deltona Florida. Date: 05/01/17 Time: 09:12 – 09:42 UT...

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May 6/7 2017 final eta Aquariid (ETA) observations from north Florida

Greetings again all, On this the last night/morning of dark sky viewing for the 2017 ETAs, Dave Branchett and I did them up right with a great pair of send off observing sessions in the pre-dawn this morning.  Dave was in Deltona and I was at Matanzas Inlet (MI), neatly sandwiching our sessions as we did between moonset and morning twilight.  As usual, the ETAs did not disappoint! My one hour session at MI began in moonlight, had a nice albeit brief period of lovely dark skies in the middle and then ended in rapidly brightening morning twilight.  It was a most unusual session, yet one that produced some stunning and memorable meteors throughout, both ETAs and non-ETAs. Here’s my data: Observed for showers: ETA: eta Aquariids ELY: eta Lyrids ANT: Anthelions GAQ: gamma Aquilids SPO: sporadics Date: May 6/7, 2017, Observer: Paul Jones, Location: Matanzas Inlet, Florida, Lat:29.75 n, Long: 81.24 w, LM- variable (5.0 – 6.5), sky conditions: clear with some haze and high humidity, facing: southeast 0435 – 0535 EDT (0835 – 0935 UT) Teff: 1.0 hour, no breaks 17 ETA: -2, 0(2), +1(2). +2(4), +3(4), +4(3), +5 2 ELY: +2, +3 1 GAQ: +4 8 SPO: +1(2), +2(2), +3(2). +4, +5 28 total meteors 9 of the ETAs left trains (all of the brighter ones), the -2 ETA as a bright golden yellow and some faint blue...

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April 21/22, 2017 April Lyrid maximum observations from north Florida

Greetings again all,      Five members of the Ancient City Astronomy Club (ACAC), St. Augustine, Florida had a pretty good look at the 2017 April Lyrid (LYR) maximum on Friday night/Saturday morning, April 21/22, even though sky conditions were a bit hazy and cloudy off and on throughout the night.   Overall, the LYRs performed pretty much as expected with no evidence of any type of outburst noted, not at least from our area, that is.      I joined Bob and Michelle Wolski at their home on the fairway of the St. Johns Country Club and we hung in there until 0430 on Saturday morning, seeing brief spurts of good LYR activity, interspersed with long lulls of inactivity.  My best hourly count during the session was 17 LYRs between 0200 and 0300 EDT.  After 4:00 a.m. though, clouds began to come in worse so we packed it in for the morning.     Brenda and Dave Branchett also got out at their home in Deltona, Florida in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning and they logged 18 LYRs during their best hour’s count, which agrees well with what I was seeing from St. Augustine.  Here is everyone’s data: April 21/22, 2017 Observer: Paul Jones. Location: Cypress Lakes Subdivision, Elkton, Florida, Lat: 29.47.51 N, Long: 81.22.31 W (8 miles SW of St. Augustine, Florida) Observed for radiants: LYR: April Lyrids SLE: sigma Leonids...

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April 20/21, 2017 Pre-max April Lyrid observations from north Florida

Greetings again all,      It was indeed great to be out once again under the starry heavens at Matanzas Inlet, Florida (MI) this morning!  I picked out a new observing location this time, around the “back” or west bank of MI on the park boundary between the Helen Mellon Schmidt County Park and the Fort Matanzas National Monument.  I set up right alongside the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in an ideal setting, except for a few of the persistent MI sand gnats…:o(.  Jumping mullet in the ICW right next to me kept me company all morning long…;o).     The skies however, were sensational as always and the full 360 degree horizons in all directions allowed me to catch two real prizes during the watch!  I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect as I have had very few pre-max April Lyrid (LYR) observing session opportunities in the past, yet they surprised me pleasantly to say the least!     I started in right at 2:00 a. m., EDT and my first meteor about ten minutes later was a beautiful yellow/orange, -2 LYR low in the SSW sky in Centaurus – a great way to start the watch indeed!  It hit at least 80 to 90 degrees away from the radiant position at that point.  The wide MI skies were the only reason I was able to catch that baby…;o).  And more was to come…  Here...

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Dec. 10/11, 2016 meteor observations from Deep Creek, Florida – TOUCHDOWN

Greetings again all,    You know, I’m sure glad I have 60+ years experience trying to figure out Florida weather.  Most times I need every minute of it… especially during the Geminids!  This morning was a case in point.  When I awoke at 0230, it was perfectly clear.  Ten minutes later, it was solid overcast.  The clouds were coming in off the ocean, so I reasoned that if I went inland instead of to the coastal area, I might be able to get beyond them.    So, I decided to eschew trusty Matanzas Inlet, Florida and opted for the “potato fields”  of the Hastings, Florida area instead – ending up at the Deep Creek Conservation Area.  When I got there, it was mostly cloudy with the moon still up in the western sky.  I hung out and in fifteen minutes most of the clouds melted away just in time for me to start my hour at 0400 a. m.  And for the next two hours, I had one heck of a show put on for me in the meteor department!!  Soon after, Brenda Branchett joined me down in Deltona, Florida and we stayed in touch via cell phone.     All told under the lovely dark skies in two hours, between 0400 – 0600 a. m.,  I totaled 80 meteors, with 48 of them being Geminids!  I had a gorgeous -4 Anthelion/Taurid fireball and four...

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