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Home Single CAMS Scientific Results IAU Meteor Data Center Meteorites of California
Mission statement - CAMS is an automated video surveillance of the night sky in search of meteor showers to validate the IAU Working List of Meteor Showers. [Contact]

Day-by-day tally

Meteorite falls:
Chelyabinsk fall (2013-02-15)
Novato fall (2012-10-17)
Sutter's Mill fall (2012-04-22)

Report visual accounts of fireball sighting here.

Report possible meteorite finds from Novato or Sutter's Mill:

California map of station locations.
map NL
BeNeLux map of station locations.
map NL
Atlantic map of station locations.

Key Personnel:

Dr. Peter Jenniskens,
SETI Institute, Principal Investigator
[Career pages]

Peter S. Gural,
S.A.I.C., meteor detection algoritms

BCSI logo
Matt Day and Lorena Perez,
Border Collie Solutions, Inc., video surveillance

Rick Morales,
Fremont Peak Observatory

Bryant Grigsby,
CAMS station at Lick Observatory
[Career pages]

Jim Albers,
CAMS station Sunnyvale

Dave Samuels,
Single CAMS networks

Jeremie Vaubaillon,
Observatoire de Paris, France, Meteor stream dynamics modelling
[Career pages]

David Nesvorny,
SWRI, Boulder, zodiacal dust cloud modelling
[Career pages]

Carl Johannink,
Coordination BeNeLux network

FP - Fremont Peak Observatory:
LO - Lick Observatory:
SV - Sunnyvale:
LI - Lodi Clear Sky Clock:

News blog:


2014, April 13 - The CAMS trajectory data reduction for the month of December has been completed. Due to good weather, an improved 74,000 orbits were measured in 2013, compared to 54,000 orbits in 2012. The total tally of orbits is now 175,400. So far, 241 intervals of solar longitude, out of 360, have over 300 quality meteoroid orbits.

2014, April 12 - The SonotaCo Video Meteor Network reports the detection of a new shower from the crossing of the dust trail of a long-period comet on April 7. The shower is named the April alpha Capricornids (AAC, IAU#752). According to Mikiya Sato, the shower may return in 2025 and 2032.

2014, March 29 - Pete Gural created a software tool for removing cloud detections from the astrometry in single-CAMS observations.

2014, March 14 - The Japanese SonotaCo Video Meteor Network has releaed its 2013 data, adding another 26,516 orbits. The total tally at the end of 2013 now is 168,030.

2014 March 05 Tranquillity fireball:

fall area
Preliminary results for caculated fall area (subject to change when more information becomes available). Expected location for 1 gram, 10 gram and 100 gram meteorites are shown by squares, connected by a yellow line. The blue line is the extrapolated ground-projected trajectory of the meteor.

2014, March 16 - How strange is it that the town of Tranquillity is once again on the path of a potential meteorite fall? This fireball appeared on March 05, at 12:34:22 UT, at 4:34 a.m. PST in the morning. A bright fireball was seen from sites near Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco, with one observer in Merced describing a "big boom. If I was inside, I would've thought an elephant fell on my roof. Made my garage doors rattle." CAMS captured the beginning part of the fireball at stations in Sunnyvale, Lick Observatory and Fremont Peak, but only through clouds. The track has multiple flares, suggesting a fairly fragile material. Entry speed was high, about 26 km/s. The preliminary trajectory and potential fall area are shown in the graph above (data subject to change).

At the moment, this case doesn't look promising. Because of the high entry speed, only if this was a relatively large object would sufficient material have survived to the ground to be able to recover. That doesn't seem to be the case, because no infrasound detection was made. The trajectory runs far south from the location of the reported sound in Merced, which makes it unclear that this sound came from the fireball. No radar signatures from falling meteorites were detected.

2014, February 20 - A manuscript was submitted to ICARUS describing results from the first 2.5 years of CAMS observations (112,000 orbits). The paper is now in peer review. The full reference is: P. Jenniskens, Q. Nenon, J. Albers, P. S. Gural, B. Haberman, D. Holman, R. Morales, B. J. Grigsby, D. Samuels, C. Johannink, 2014. "CAMS: A survey of meteor showers from 37 degree North." Icarus (submitted). More when the peer review process is completed.

2014, February 18 - Delays in the further deployment of the New Zealand CAMS system were caused by heavy rains in Christchurch, which demonstrated that the camera box was leaking. This unit has now been sealed up, but the second unit will need more work to repair. It was damaged during transport.

University of Canterbury setup
Successful test of one of the CAMSatNZ units at University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

2014, February 8 - Last night, a successful deployment of one of the units was made on the roof of the Physics department at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. This will be a temporary location. The image above shows a screen dump of all 16 working cameras. The data were successfully transmitted.

2014, February 4 - Carl Johannink reports that the BeNeLux network now has 30 cameras operational. In the night of February 2 to 3, 70 multi-station orbits were measured! That included on February eta Draconid.

2014, February 2 - Jack Baggaley reports that one of the camera boxes is now installed up on the roof of the Physics Department at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. "All seems working ok now - had to deal with broken cables and found no power to one camera." Waiting for clear weather.

2014, January 26 - Jack Baggaley is reporting that the CAMS New Zealand setup is being assembled and tested at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. The first box was run in a darkened room: "We see OK the 16 square images for each camera (with one black due to broken connection inside the camera box by the socket - we need to repair it)."

2014 January 10 Tranquillity fireball:

Map with search area. North is to the right.

2014, January 20 - A team of nine (Peter Jenniskens, Jason Utas, Michelle Myers, Wendy Guglieri, Herb Tanimoto, Nancy Hood, Barbara Broide, Steve Herrin and Kevin Heider) searched this area near Tranquillity on January 17-19, but no obvious meteorites with black fusion crust were found. Local residents were engaged and we hope that someone will find one. [Map]

group Search team, from l. to r.: Peter, Nancy, Herb, Kevin, Steve, Wendy, Michelle, and Jason. Photo: Barbara.

Dash-cam video by Mr. Mulder

2014, January 12 - A dashcam video of this fireball was posted here. It was taken near 3441 Alma Street in Palo Alto, CA. The video provides a lightcurve of the fireball.

Fireball from Fremont Peak Observatory

2014, January 12 - The CAMS station at Fremont Peak Observatory also captured this fireball, which makes triangulation with the Lick Observatory record possible. Calculations by Peter Jenniskens show that the meteoroid entered at 14.7 km/s, traveling at an angle of 40 degrees with the horizontal from 85 km (where it was first detected) to 68 km altitude (where it moved out of the field of view of the cameras). Using the wind conditions measured in Oakland International Airport at 0h UT on Jan 11, the fall area is north and south of the village of Tranquillity (with two "l") in California's Central Valley (see figure above).

Jan 10 firball from Lick Observatory CAMS
Very beginning of fireball captured in Lick Observatory CAMS camera 81 (bottom center). Train left is from aircraft.

2014, January 11 - Data from the CAMS station at Lick Observatory were retreived today and the data shows the beginning part of a slow moving meteor at the reported time. The CAMS station at Fremont Peak should have captured this fireball. It did not pass the field of view of the Sunnyvale station.

2014, January 10 - Around 17:49 PST today (Jan 11 01:49 UT), at least 30 people observed a bright fireball from the California San Francisco Bay area and the wider Los Angeles area. Reports are collected at the American Meteor Society website. The meteor fragmented towards the end, but so far no sounds were reported. We are checking our records to see if this one was captured in the CAMS network. [Reports]
Report visual accounts of fireball sighting here.

2014, January 2 - Today, the next 2008 TC3 event has finally occurred. Asteroid 2014 AA appears to have impacted Earth about 21 hours after it was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey (Richard Kowalsky). The potential impact area stretches from the northern coast of South America over the Atlantic to Africa, even over Sudan... The most likely impact area is in the Atlantic Ocean north of Brazil, based on weak infrasound detections by CNBTO stations in Brazil and Bolivia. We are still looking for further confirmation of the impact from satellite observations.

2014, January 1 - While re-examining today an animated GIF image created by Marco Langbroek (CAMS@BeNeLux network) to present his discovery of asteroid 2013 GM21 last year April, Peter Jenniskens detected another moving object in the image on a similar main-belt asteroid orbit. The coordinates for this object have been contributed to the minor planet center.

2014, January 1 - A HAPPY NEW YEAR to all members of the growing CAMS family! Thank you for making 2013 a most fruitfull and unforgettable year.

CAMS New Zealand

CAMS setup ready for deployment in New Zealand.

2013, December 12 - Prof. Jack Baggaley reports that the new CAMS camera boxes arrived at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch in good shape. The picture above shows the setup still at the SETI Institute. The camera layout is the same design by Mike Borden, operated with a power supply modified by Mike Koop. Two computers run single-CAMS detection software developed by Pete Gural that produce the astrometric data for each meteor. Dave Samuels designed the scripts that make autonomous operation possible.

2013, December 11 - Carl Johannink of the CAMS@BeNeLux network reports 172 multi-station trajectories for the night of December 10/11 alone. The network is rapidly reaching yields comparable to that of the CAMS network in California.

2013, November 10 - Meteorite fall! CAMS participants in the BeNeLux network report that may have captured the fall of a meteorite over the Netherlands on October 30th. Astronomer Dr. Pavel Spurny of Ondrejov Observatory has calculated that about 2 kg of meteorites may have fallen. Thrity people met in the town of Hoenderloo today, to search for possible fallen meteorites. The search area is relatively large, 6 by 6 by 6 km, and no meteorites were found during this initial search. [media report (in Dutch)]

Map of glass damage in Chelyabinsk Oblast
Map of glass damage in Chelyabinsk Oblast. Fireball moved from right to left. Dots are villages and towns in the area, marked red or orange when glass damage occurred. Yellow dots are the locations where meteorites were recovered. Gray area shows predictions of overpressure from asteroid impact models. From: Popova et al., Science Vol. 42 (2013).

2013, November 6 - Science published today a report on the Chelyabinsk meteoroid impact that describes the results from a Russian Academy of Sciences fact finding mission in the weeks after the impact, led by Dr. Olga Popova of the Institute for Dynamics of Geospheres of the RAS and Vacheslav Emel'yanenko of the Institute of Astronomy of the RAS in Moscow. NASA Ames and SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens participated in this effort as outside expert and coordinated the study of the recovered meteorites. [More here]

CAMS at New Zealand test

2013, October 28 - In a collaboration with Prof. Jack Baggaley of the University of Canterbury, a new two-station (16 cameras each) CAMS network has been developed for deployment in New Zealand. Goals is to map the southern hemisphere meteor showers. This week, software and hardware were integrated and tested in actual observing conditions at the CAMS station in Sunnyvale. For a few weeks, a total of 52 cameras were filming the night sky from this location (20 for the regular CAMS meteoroid orbit survey, 16 to capture meteor spectra, and 16 just for test purposes of the new network).

2013 October 22 Bay Area fireball:

CA fireball 2013 Oct 22 CA fireball 2013 Oct 22
Left: One year after the Novato meteorite fall, CAMS station 210 - College of San Mateo (Dean Drumheller) - catches another meteorite fall on video. Again, smack through the middle of the camera field... Next to the fireball track is a window reflection. Right: The same fireball in a video by Dave Samuels in Brentwood.

2013, Oct 22 - A bright fireball was seen by many in the Bay Area this evening at 19:54:03 local time (Oct 23 at 02:54:03 UT) in California. Bryant Grigsby reported that it caught his attention by the shadows it cast on a wall in front of him. Karen Randall described it as green, fragmenting towards the end. At the College of San Mateo, Daryl Stanford said: "It started out bluish white, then turned green; and it finally seemed to spiral and fragment at the end." Indications are that this meteor ended over the ocean. Nevertheless, the CAMS records are being collected. The first in is that of station 213 (Dave Samuels in Brentwood), shown in the picture above. The meteor left the field of view at the bottom, only the beginning part is shown. Keep tuned for a trajectory solution and updates.

Update (Oct 23 1:30 am local time): The Sunnyvale station operated by Jim Albers caught the fireball on cameras 53, 11, 12, 152, 171 and 173! Camera 53 shows the beginning part of the trajectory (see picture above).

Combining the Sunnyvale camera 53 astrometry with results from the 213 camera in Brentwood provides the following **preliminary** solution from triangulation (calculations by Peter Jenniskens, SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center, based on observations by CAMS project participants Dave Samuels and Jim Albers):

CA fireball 2013 Oct 23

Meteor was first seen Oct 22 at 02:53:59.5 UT (19:53:59 local time)
Entered Earth atmosphere with speed 17.3 km/s
Trajectory came from the East.
Arrived from a direction Right Ascension = 26.5 degree, Declination = +11.2 degrees, near the star o Piscium.
First seen at 87.8 km altitude, at Lat = +37.636N, Long = 121.8092W.
Trajectory was shallow: inclined by 19.5 degrees with horizontal.
Was tracked by CAMS camera 213 down to 60.9 km at Lat = 37.6475N Long = 122.6466W.
The meteoroid penetrated well below that.
Meteoroid pre-atmospheric orbit had the following properties:
low-inclined orbit: inclination = 3.8 degrees
Short orbit: semi-major axis = 1.15 AU
Low perihelion distance = 0.653 AU

According to Jenniskens, based on these preliminary results this was not a member of the Taurid shower, but likely a rock of asteroidal origin. Sadly, any surviving meteorites would have landed in the Pacific Ocean.

Please report visual accounts of the fireball sighting here.

CA fireball 2013 Oct 23
Wes Jones in Belmont caught the beginning part of the fireball.

map 2013, September 28 - The Dutch and Belgium observers in the CAMS@BeneLux network meet to coordinate the pointing of cameras in this rapidly expanding network. From mere four cameras a year ago and 18 in June, the network is now approaching 30 operational cameras. To see location of 2013 stations, click on map.

2013, Aug 26 - Meteoroids 2013 Conference in Poznan, Poland. CAMS presentations by Pete Gural (new CAMS Spectrograph) and Peter Jenniskens (CAMS results update). Peter Jenniskens also gave an invited review talk on the Sutter's Mill meteorite fall. Regina Rudawska presented results on meteoroid stream seaches in the first year CAMS data.

Celebration of CAMS operations. From left to right: Dave Samuels, Quentin Nenon, Loren Dyneson, Beth Johnson, Rick Morales, Peter Jenniskens, Mike Koop, and Dean Drumheller.

2013, Aug 12 - CAMS participants in the Bay Area meet at Fremont Peak Observatory during the 28th Annual Fremont Peak Star-B-Que to celebrate the detection of the first 100,000 meteors. Peter gives the keynote lecture "Rocks Falling from the Sky, an update on the CAMS Project". CAMS has completed the baseline meteor orbit survey and is now phasing into support of the meteor spectroscopy program. [Images of event]

2013, June 17 - Carl Johannink reports that the CAMS@BeNeLux network is rapidly expanding, now with 18 cameras operational. The monthly yield of orbits is shown in the plot below.


2013, May 15 - Data reduction for 2012 complete. The orbit tally so far is 101,240 orbits.

CAMS Spectrograph

2013, March 12 - First light with the new CAMS Spectrograph, currently set up next to the Sunnyvale CAMS station (Jim Albers). 16 cameras take spectra of magnitude +0 and brighter meteors captured in the CAMS network. Pete Gural developed the algorithms to monitor all 16 cameras for meteor spectra at the same time. Various routines for data analysis have been developed by Anthony Berdue and Peter Jenniskens, but the integration into an end-to-end software package is pending.

2013, March 9-25 - Peter participates in fact finding mission by the Russian Academy of Sciences to Chelyabinsk. Leads are Olga Popova (Institute of Geosphere Dynamics of the RAS) and Slava Emel'yanenko (Astronomical Institute of the RAS), both of Moscow.

Chelyabinsk fireball smoke train
Point of main disruption of the Chelyabinks fireball at 27 km altitude. Photo: Evgueny Tvorogov.

2013, February 15 - This morning, an about 17-m sized asteroid impacted near Chelyabinsk with an energy of ~500 kt. That is more than hundred times that of Sutter's Mill. The overpressure caused many windows to break in and around Chelyabinsk (pronounce: "Chel-yeah-binsk") and numerous injuries occurred due to falling glass. In the global media, information about the magnitude of this event came initially from the University of Western Ontario team, who analysed infrasound data. Later, more information was obtained from spaceborne observations of the dust cloud, and from the preliminary analysis of some of the many video records of the fireball and its dust cloud posted on YouTube. The first find of meteorites was reported two days later by Prof. Grotkovsky of South Ural University, and determined to be of type LL5, with shockstage S4 and weathering grade W0.

2013 February 16 San Francisco Bay Area fireball:

2013, February 22 - This fireball was widely reported in the evening of February 15, the day of the Chelyabinsk fireball. It was captured in a dash-cam video from a car driving southbound on highway 280. It appeared at the very edge of the CAMS camera field of view and was captured by the CAMS Sunnyvale station at 03:42 UT. It appeared just outside of the CAMS Lick Observatory and Fremont Peak Observatory station camera fields and, so far, no orbit could be derived.

2013 January 17 Sierra Nevada fireball:

Jan 17 fireball

Sunnyvale record of the January 17 fireball. The beginning of the meteor trajectory is visible right of the bright flash that originated well below the field of view.

2013, January 17 - Night turned briefly into day over a wide area in California and Nevada at 5:21:44 a.m. PST on Thursday morning, creating hopes of another extraterrestrial surprise delivery of meteorites, but this bright fireball did not drop meteorites on the ground. This was a head-on collision with a small perhaps 1-meter sized comet, rather than the glancing blow of a stronger asteroid. The comet matter was almost instantly turned into dust and gas.

Three of the CAMS camera stations captured the very early stage of the impact. The meteor was first spotted by the station at Lick Observatory at an altitude of 146.1 +/- 1.0 km (90.8 miles) and was tracked at the stations in Sunnyvale and Fremont Peak Observatory down to 133.8 +/- 0.2 km (83.1 miles), after which the fireball moved outside the field of view. Extraction of the short fast tracks proved difficult, but CAMS software architect Pete Gural succeeded in extracting each track. From triangulations of these video records, the object's trajectory in the atmosphere and orbit in space were calculated.


How high is 146 km? The short thick line shows the calculated trajectory, the thin line is extrapolated to the ground, ending close to Lake Tahoe. Image courtesy of Jim Albers.

The meteoroid originated from the Oort cloud and approached Earth on a shallow 19 +/- 7 degrees inclined orbit, moving in opposite direction around the Sun. On Thursday morning, while approaching it's nearest point to the Sun at 0.98 +/- 0.03 Astronomical Units, it found Earth in its way. It approached from the direction of the constellation Virgo, and collided head-on with the Earth at a location just north of Yosemite National Park, entering Earth's atmosphere at the fastest possible entry speed of 72 +/- 6 km/s (= 45 miles/s, or 160 thousand miles per hour). Moving towards Lake Tahoe, the small comet then penetrated to lower elevations where it fully disrupted in the atmosphere.

Jan 17 fireball

January 17 fireball in an allsky camera image by Jim Collins at Chico, CA.

The fireball was widely reported on the American Meteor Society website. It was captured on the allsky camera of Jim Collins in Chico, CA (photo above). It was also captured on the Skysentinel cameras at Stanford and Nevada city. These sites show videos.
[Video by James S.]

2012, November 05 - First Light for CAMS @ North Atlantic network! Pete Gural ran last night for the first time with all four cameras mounted on his roof in Sterling, Maryland, and the Sensoray 2255 grabbing 4 channels without problems. It basically is the same threading structure as the two channel version of the code. This is the start of a North Atlantic network, waiting for others to get up their cameras. Two prospective remote sites are at Annapolis, MD, and Richmond, VA. The Richmond site can see Pete's East or West patches with a 25 degree elevation angle.

[News archive]

SETI Institute logo Curator: Peter Jenniskens
Responsible NASA Official: Lindley Johnson (NEOO)

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