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
GAQ: gamma Aquilids
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 tints were seen in some of the other brighter ETAs.
In addition to the several bright, stunning ETAs, I also caught two gorgeous, slow-moving, earthgrazing sporadics that lasted several seconds on the sky. One was noticeably orange in color and the other one was silvery white. I had a good burst of nice ETAs near the end of the hour as several fast streaks splashed across the twilight sky in awesome fashion all headed generally NW from the radiant. The session was rounded out nicely by a pass of the ISS low in the northwestern sky. All in all it was an awesome hour’s session!!
Here is Dave’s report from Deltona:
Well I really learned a valuable lesson this morning and that is you really never know what to expect! I awoke much earlier than intended so got everything ready to begin at 03h:45m EDT the moon was setting but I could easily see the milky way and right off the bat I had meteors popping left right and center, no eta’s but there was something going on up in Lyra and also activity in a triangle region bound by Alpha, gamma and zeta Cygni. I really didn’t expect to see many eta’s , much to my amazement in a two hour period I counted 32 eta’s.
The interesting thing that I noticed this morning that there were none brighter than 0 magnitude and very few with long trails and lingering trains. The vast majority popped in a sudden burst or flash, on one occasion I had an eta pop a little east of Atair then right after a sporadic burst just below in the same location. However the moment that astounded me and most certainly got my juices flowing happened just a few minutes into the second hour when an eta popped just below Beta AQRii, shortly followed by a second and a third all in the same area but varying in brightness. With that said below is my report for this morning.
Observer: Dave Branchett
Location: Lat 28.8766 deg N Lat 81.1803 deg W
Private residence Deltona Florida
Time: 07:45 – 08:44 UT Duration: 1 hour, one 3 min break, limited magnitude 4.5, sky conditions: excellent, facing East South East, damp and chilly.
Eta Aqr 13
Eta Lyr 5
Time: 08:45-09:44 UT Duration: 1 hour, one 3 min break, limited magnitude 4.5, sky conditions: excellent, facing south, the air damp and chilly
Eta Aqr 19
Eta Lyr 0
Note: No eta Aqr brighter than 0 magnitudes, very few with long trails and dust train. Most appeared as sudden bursts, most notably shortly after the start of the second hour three almost simultaneous bursts appeared just below beta Aqr.
Best wishes and clear skies
Great job, Dave! Looks like we have made a meteor watcher out of you…;o). Glad you enjoyed the show and thanks for the detailed reports. Thanks also to Heaven Marculis and her friend Casey for getting out as well. The best part of “meteor season” lies ahead of us.
Much more to come, Paul