I had a very pleasant and productive two hour meteor watch from Butler Beach, Florida this morning that included 41 meteors all told, a majestic -4 alpha Capricornid fireball and my very first Perseid of 2016! All of that with dark, clear skies, no mosquitoes whatsoever, a gentle breeze and the soft sounds of the waves hitting the beach next to me! All that’s pretty tough to beat…;o).
I decided to eschew my trusty Matanzas Inlet site for awhile due to its becoming a bit overcrowded with summertime carloads of beachgoers pulling into the parking lot I use at all hours of the morning. Just too many distractions there now. I plan to return to it later on in the year after the summer masses go home…;o)!
Butler Beach is located about three miles south of St. Augustine Beach and although not quite as dark a sky as the Matanzas Inlet site, it is more than good enough to use as my good results attested to – and zero distractions! The LM was around 6.5 and perfect unobstructed horizons in all directions – a great trade off!
Here’s my results:
Observed for radiants:
CAP – alpha Capricornids
SCA_ sigma Capricornids
JPE – July Pegasids
PPS – pi Piscids
CAN – C Andromedids
ANT – Anthelions
PER – Perseids
July 8/9. 2016, observer: Paul Jones, Location: Butler Beach, Florida (about three miles south of St. Augustine, Beach, Florida), Lat: 29.79 N, Long: 81.26 W., LM: 6.5, clear, Facing: east
0200 – 0300 EDT (0600 – 0700 UT), Teff: 1.0 hour, No breaks
2 CAP: -4, 0
2 SCA: +2, +4
1 ANT: +4
2 JPE: +3 (2)
15 SPO: 0, +1, +2(2), +3(5). +4(4). +5(2)
22 total meteors
7 of the 22 meteors left trains, the -4 CAP fireball was vivid yellow with orange sparks, and the zero mag CAP as also bright yellow.
0300 – 0400 EDT (0700 – 0800 UT), Teff: 1.0 hour, No Breaks
3 JPE: +1, +3(2)
1 CAN: +3
1 PPS: +2
1 PER: +2
1 SCA: +4
12 SPO: +1 (2), +2, +3(3). +4(3), +5(3)
19 total meteors
4 of the 19 meteors left trains, one long, slow SPO was orange/yellow in color
The first hour rocked the house! I was barely ten minutes into the watch when the CAP fireball blazed slowly across eastern Cygnus, heading north almost dead overhead, covering over 30 degrees of sky, arcing and sparking all the way and finished in the marvelous -4 terminal burst!! It left a puffy, glowing, smoky train behind that matched the bursts it had along its path: truly a meteor to remember! I have a feeling this radiant has many more like that one left in it!
About twenty minutes later, the second CAP flashed briefly SW of the radiant with a short trained path. LOVE those alpha CAPS!!!!
The second hour was more mundane in activity level with no more CAP fireworks showing up, but the JPEs and the SCAs continued showing up pretty well. The PER showed off the un-migrated radiant position of this famous shower, as the meteor actually came from Cassiopeia! About in the middle of the hour, I had a long, slow +2 SPO that tracked NE low in the northern sky that sorta seemed to line up generally with the June Bootid radiant area, but I figured it was long past that radiant’s window of activity so I put it down as a SPO. I still wondered about it, though…;o).
The high pressure sitting over us is well entrenched, so I should be back out in the morning again to see these what else all these radiants have up their collective sleeve! Hope everyone has a chance to get out, there is a lot going on up there and much, much more to com!!
Clear skies all, Paul J in North Florida