July 21, 2014 - Naked eye observers were quite disappointed by the poor showing of the May 24 Camelopardalids meteor shower from the close passage of comet 209P/LINEAR to Earth last month, but this never-before-seen shower now has scientists excited. An analysis of airborne and ground-based observations by Peter Jenniskens, published in the latest issue of the Journal of the International Meteor Organization, finds that this comet's meteoroids were unusually fragile and the shower was dominated by meteors too small to see with the naked eye. The dust encountered by Earth in May was more than a century old. One explanation for the lack of large meteoroids is that they did not survive the harsh conditions of space. [Manuscript]; [Press Release]
July 19, 2014 - On June 2, at 09:48:28 UT, a fireball brighter than Novato appeared over Discovery Bay and Tracy, California, and descended in the direction of Patterson on a steep 59 degree inclined path. Just north of this town, small 1-10g meteorites may have fallen. The fireball was captured by all CAMS stations, but in Sunnyvale it appeared through fog. The fireball dramatically eruprted with a peak in brightness around 50-60 km altitude, and faded not until about 42 km. The high altitudes point to a frail object, with a lightcurve similar to that of past carbonaceous chondrites. The entry speed was about 19-20 km/s, arriving from an asteroidal orbit with perihelion distance at 1.0 AU and an eccentricity of about 0.61. Winds were from the West and South-West, which would have drifted the meteorites to the East. Preliminary calculations for the predicted fall locations by Peter Jenniskens are shown in the figure above. The white line is the ground-projected fireball path, the yellow line the predicted location of fallen meteorites. Calculations were made for a nominal density of 2.1 g/cm3. Results for a density of 3.3 g/cm3 are also shown.
July 14, 2014 - During the 2014 Asteroids, Comets, Meteors conference in Helsinki, it was announced that the International Astronomical Union has named main belt asteroids after CAMS team members Pete Gural and Jim Albers.
June 16, 2014 - SETI Institute Research Experiences for Undergraduates program students Bethany Kelley and Andrew Crump have arrived at the SETI Insitute and will work over the summere to assist in CAMS data reduction and the analysis of meteor light curves.
June 10, 2014 - Jack Baggaley reports that the heating cables are finally being shipped from Australia and that, once they arrive, Canterbury Astronomical Society amateur astronomer and astrophotographer Peter Aldous will be host to the station in Geraldine. He visited Aldous two weeks ago to confirm the location. The second station will temporarily be operated from the roof of the Physics Department of the University of Canterbury at Christchurch to support the now ongoing DEEPWAVE project, and then be moved a location in West Melton hosted by former Canterbury Astronomical Society president Ian Crumpton.
May 30, 2014 - Jim Albers has updated the scripts at Lick Observatory and replaced the portable backup drive. He took this photograph of the setup, using a red flashlight to illuminate the CAMS camera box.
May 26, 2014 - A new shower in the sky: Approach direction of the Camelopardalids in CAMS data. So far, 20 trajectories have been calculated, of which 5 are from single-CAMS stations in California and the Netherlands. The graph shows the geocentric radiant position of each meteor radiant, with a circle showing the predicted Camelopardalid radiant position. The radiant is compact, most (or all) of the outlayers are either the result of measurement error, or were detected outside the core of the profile. The first trajectory was captured on May 23 at 4:48 UT, the last on May 24 at 22:27 UT. The temporal distribution is broad, with most detected between 4:41 and 9:37 UT (with some clouds interfering around the peak at 6-8 UT). The magnitude distribution has a shallow index of r = 1.6 +/- 0.2 over the range -3 to +3 magnitude.
Trajectory and lightcurve of a Camelopardalid filmed from the single-CAMS stations 214-Foresthill (Jim Wray), 216-Brentwood (Dave Samuels), and 218-Walnut Creek (James Head) at 06:41:14 UT May 24.
May 24, 2014 - A trajectory and orbit in space were calculated for a Camelopardalid that was filmed at three single-CAMS stations in the San Francisco Bay Area at 06:41:14 UT. The meteor appeared to arrive from a direction Right Ascension = 151.3 +/- 1.0 deg., Declination = 78.6 +/- 0.6 deg., with speed 19.4 +/- 1.0 km/s, close to predictions. Last night's CAMS data from the main network in California are now being processed.
May 24, 2014 - Early activity: the single-CAMS network in the Netherlands (Carl Johannink) is reporting that they detected three early Camelopardalids at 21:34 UT (stations Henglo - Gronau), 23:56 UT (stations Alphen a/d Rijn - Hengelo), and 23:58 UT (stations Utrecht - Alphen) on May 23. Apparent radiants from the two most precisely measured Camelopardalids were at: RA= 142.9+/-2.8, Dec=82.4+/-0.4 and speed Vinf = 16.9 km/s, and RA=139.7+/-0.9, Dec=81.9+/-0.3 and speed Vinf = 18.8 km/s, respectively.
Direction from which meteors approached us in 2011-2013, as measured by CAMS.
2014, May 18 - The graph above shows the direction (apparent radiant) from which meteors approach us in normal years. The circle is the direction of the possible new shower.
2014, May 07 - Get ready for an interesting night of star gazing on May 23th. In late May, comet 209P/Linear is making the 9th closest approach to Earth of comets on record, the closest since the 1983 passage of comet Iras-Araki-Alcock. Esko Lyytinen and Peter Jenniskens calculated in 2004 that dust trails from this comet from returns in the 19th and early 20th centuries are in Earth's path in the night of May 23-24, 2014, and a new meteor shower may be visible for observers in the USA and Canada. If the weather is clear, CAMS should have a prime view of the event. [More here]