2016, August 22 - Perseids near the radiant appear to move slower, as shown by the blue colors (angular velocity of 0-5 degrees per second) as opposed to green colors (10-20 degrees per second) in this compilation by Martin Breukers of CAMS BeNeLux Perseids from the night of August 12/13.
Number of Perseid orbits measured by LO-CAMS in nights of Aug 11/12 and 12/13, compared to expected rates from normal annual activity (dashed lines).
2016, August 13 - Outburst confirmed? The first reduced CAMS meteor orbit calculations are coming in. First results from LO-CAMS (video-detected orbits of Perseids mostly in the +2 to -2 magnitude range) are shown in the graph above. A total of 697 orbits were measured over Flagstaff (Mars Hill) and the Discovery Channel Telescope by Nick Moskovitz and his team in the beautifully clear night of August 11/12, 594 of which were Perseids. Jim Albers created this spectacular Google Earth kmz file with the meteor tracks over Arizona.
Only 239 Perseid orbits were measured in the night of August 12/13. Assuming that all Perseids in the latter night were from the normal annual component, as implied by the radio meteor scatter observations, and that they were just as efficiently detected as the night before (which may or may not be true), Jenniskens calculated the rates expected from the annual component in the night of August 11/12. If the detection efficiency was the same in both nights, we may conclude that rates were above expected levels between 6 and 12 UT on August 12. However, note that radio MS rates were back to normal at 11h UT .
Perseid rates reported in near real time from Forward Meteor Scatter observations
2016, August 13 - The nature of the second outburst over the US in the morning of August 12, strong in the international compilation of forward meteor scatter observations collected in Japan (figure above), is still being investigated. Was it rich in bright or faint meteors? We noticed high rates from Fremont Peak Observatory in visual observations around 8h UT, corresponding to the peak in the MS detections. Geert Barentsen pointed out that a second peak may be emerging in visual observations reported to the International Meteor Organization, but this peak is not yet well resolved. Observers are encouraged to report their observations.
2016, August 13 - Above is the tally of meteors in just one CAMS camera (number 124) at Lick Observatory in the night of August 12 UT.
2016, August 13 - The shower is still going strong. Paul Roggemans posted some spectacular results from the CAMS BeNeLux cameras in Mechelen in the clear night of August 12/13 here.
Perseid of August 13, 2016, at 05:43:18.7 (reconsructed from the CAMS Four-Frame compression format), from the new station 233 of CAMS Florida.
2016, August 13 - Andy Howell, coordinator of CAMS Florida, reports that a new CAMS camera 233 is now online on the Florida coast at Florida Tech, thanks to Dwayne Free and Dan Batcheldor.
Perseid fireballs outnumber aircraft tracks at the CAMS station in Sunnyvale in the evening of August 11. Image by Jim Albers from records by the low-resolution allsky video camera.
2016, August 12 - Initial reports from Europe confirm that the 1- and 4- revolution dust trails of 109P/Swift-Tuttle were encountered at close to the predicted peak times. From visual observations at Fremont Peak Observatory, Peter Jenniskens and Mike Koop did not detect the older 7-revolution dust trail but observed high rates centered on 8h10m UT (139.82 solar longitude). Japanese radio forward meteor scatter observations show a broad maximum centered on 139.8 solar longitude. This appears to be the return of the Perseid Filament. [CBET]
Expected Perseid rates (meteors per hour) in dark skies from Northern California
2016, August 9 - This year's Perseids are expected to be about 25 percent better than most other years because Jupiter steers the core of the stream towards Earth. Rates should be best after midnight. In addition, outbursts from the 1- and 4-revolution dust trail are expected at the ZHR = 30-140 per hour level between 22 UT August 11 and 01 UT August 12, while the 7-revolution trail may show up around 4 UT August 12. The Perseid Filament may also return with a peak ZHR of about 30 per hour around 4-5 UT August 12. [Rate at your site, choose Perseids and 2016]; [CBET]
2016, August 3 - The July gamma Draconids outburst was nicely recorded also by the RMOB forward meteor scatter stations in Europe and by the IMO video network. The activity graph above derived from single-station video observations is courtesy of Sirko Molau and Geert Barentsen and shows a peak ZHR of 35 per hour centered on 00:03 UT, July 28. Click on image for comparisson with previous years. More: [Meteor News]
2016, August 2 - Outburst of July gamma Draconids. While reducing the CAMS BeNeLux data of the partially cloudy night of July 27/28, including data from the new station by Jos Nijland, Martin Breukers noticed unusually strong activity from the July Gamma Draconids shower (IAU #184) between July 27 23h56m and July 28 00h23m UT. About half of all 126 single-station detected meteors, typically about +2 magnitude bright, radiated from this shower's radiant (see plot above), as did 5 out of 9 multi-station meteors. The median geocentric radiant position was R.A. = 279.88 +/ 0.12 deg., Decl. = +50.12 +/- 0.46 deg., with speed Vg = 27.31 +/- 0.09 km/s, corresponding to a Halley-type comet orbit with semi-major axis a = 27 +/- 4 AU, q = 0.977 +/- 0.002 AU, i = 39.9 +/- 0.2 deg., w = 202.7 +/- 0.5 deg., and node = 125.133 +/- 0.007 deg (J2000). The parent body is unknown. Confirmation comes from the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar: Peter Brown reports that an outburst was detected centered on 0h UT with a Full-Width-at-Half-Maximum of about 2 hours and an equivalent zenith hourly rate of 50/hour between 0 and 1 UT, July 28. [CBET Telegram]
2016, July 28 - The fly's eye CAMS meteor camera station at Lick Observatory has been expanded with an automated all-sky digital camera developed by the Desert Fireball Network of Curtin University, Australia. The new camera (with gps antenna and lens behind a white cover plate) is shown in the foreground, positioned next to the Mount Hamilton Allsky2 weather camera. The Shane telescope is in the background. The new camera is capable of capturing bright meteors closer to the horizon and will be used to track future meteorite falls in a project led by Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute. In the evening of July 27, 2016, the camera captured the re-entry of China's Long March 7 rocket body over California and Nevada. The picture below (courtesy of Jim Albers) shows the view from Lick Observatory and from a similar camera positioned at the CAMS station in Sunnyvale.
2016, July 28 - We captured the re-entry of China's Long March 7 rocket body over California and Nevada at 04:35:58 UT this evening. Both imaging and spectroscopic data were obtained. Above is the view from Sunnyvale (Jim Albers). The spectrum below shows signs of tumbling. The rocket was launched to test technologies on June 25 and entered along a shallow trajectory one month later. [Video of reentry from CAMS Spectograph imaging]; [Visual reports]
2016, July 20 - Phil Bland, head of the Desert Fireball Network in Australia and in town for a SERVII science meeting at NASA Ames Research Center, visited the CAMS Sunnyvale station this evening. Jim Albers showed how the DFN camera now has a new perch at the top of the roof.
2016, July 3 - The SETI Institute ftp server went down today. We are working on an alternative process to upload the data from the various stations.
2016, June 26 - A team of Arizona State University researchers led by Laurence Garvie has recovered 15 meteorites from the June 2 Arizona bolide.
2016, June 22 - The re-entry of the Cygnus OA6 spacecraft over the southern Pacific Ocean was successfully observed from a chartered aircraft deployed from Sydney, Australia, with a stopover in New Zealand. Sadly, there was not enough time in Christcurch to visit the CAMS stations.
2016, June 2 - A -20 magnitude fireball in Arizona was captured by the new LO-CAMS network. Several cameras at the Discovery Channel Telescope recorded the early part of the fireball (photo above) and it was also captured by one of the cameras of the Mars Hill station. Preliminary results from the trajectory and orbit calculations were presented by Peter Jenniskens and Carl Johannink at the International Meteor Conference less than 24h after the event and, just days later, by Nick Moskovitz at the Meteoroids 2016 meetings in the Netherlands.
2016, May 10 - Peter Jenniskens reports that February produced 3424 good orbits in the CAMS California network and another 130 in the Florida network. The month was surprisingly productive, being mostly clear unlike the wet months of January and March. In Europe, Carl Johannink reports that the CAMS BeNeLux network added 1075 orbits in February.
2016, May 09 - Carl Johannink reports that now 54 cameas are operational in the CAMS BeNeLux network. Exceptionally good weather since May 2.
LO-CAMS observations of the eta-Aquariids on May 4 and 5 UT. Top: Trajectories and coverage area in state of Arizona. Bottom: Geocentric radiant positions showing compact radiant.
2016, May 05 - Strong Eta-Aquariids. Lowell Observatory's LO-CAMS measured its first full-set of observations with all 32 cameras on May 4 and May 5. Student Connor Hall scanned the videos and calibrated the star fields. Nick Moskovitz reported that a bright fireball was detected in the all sky camera at Anderson Mesa in the night of May 5. Turns out that 5 of the LO-CAMS cameras (MH: 916,926, DCT: 911,912,915) caught this event, which happened around UT 10:35:58. One of the videos is below. The meteor saturated the cameras. After triangulation of the trajectories, this proved to be a bright eta-Aquariid of comet 1P/Halley. The shower is known to have periodic outbursts, but it is too soon to tell if that was the case. CAMS California was clouded out. Congratulations to LO-CAMS for achieving first light and thank you to all who made that possible!
Note: Tim Cooper of the ASSA Meteor Section in South Africa reports normal eta-Aquariids rates from visual observations on May 3/4, 4/5 and 5/6.
Weather on May 3 and 4, 2016: When CAMS California was clouded, LO-CAMS in Arizona had clear weather.
A bird, a plane, superman? No, this is the grazing meteor of April 29, 9:50 PDT (April 30, 04:50:16.44 UT), as recorded in the Mount Hamilton all-sky camera.
2016, April 29 - "Wow, what was that?!" Bay area residents reported a bright meteor in the sky this evening at 9:50 pm PDT. Checking the CAMS video records, Dave Samuels responded: "I watched the 17 seconds of video in realtime and this is not an airplane." Dave was right. Triangulation between stations at Brentwood, Sunnyvale and Lick Observatory showed that this was a grazing meteor. The zenith distance of the radiant was 89.8 degrees! The meteor moved from 38.9056N, 122.4820W (93.1 km) to 37.4146N 121.0391W (88.9 km altitude). The meteoroid arrived on an asteroid-like orbit, 11 degrees inclined to the ecliptic plane and 2.65 AU semi-major axis. Sunnyvale CAMS cameras show that the object broke in two at the end. Wow!
Mosaic of CAMS camera video fields from station Sunnyvale (Jim Albers).
2016, April 24 - LO-CAMS, with stations at Mars Hill (Flagstaff) and the Discovery Channel Telescope, submitted the first set of observations. Student Connor Hallof NAU completed the camera calibrations. 50 trajectories were measured.
2016, March 8 - Mohammad Odeh reports that following the successful tests funding was received to move forward with the second station of the new UAE network. First, the existing station will need some repairs. A once-in-a-hundred-year storm with wind speeds up to 130 km/h caused flooding today. At 1:58 pm local time, the UPS system reported an error and automatically shut down. With the computer off, the water rose 15 cm high, engulfing the bottom of the casing. UPS and monitor are not damaged and also the camera box appears to have weathered the storm well. The damage to the computer is still being accessed. Update: Mohammad reports that the computer checked out fine and station will be back in operation shortly.
2016, March 1 - A paper was submitted to JIMO with the title "Strong return of December alpha Bootids (IAU#497, DAB)", describing a strong detection of this shower in 2015. The shower was discovered earlier in CAMS data.
New Year's Eve meteor shower. Illustration: Danielle Futselaar/SETI Institute.
Direction from which meteors approached us on December 31 (and next night).
2016, February 20 - How cool would it be to have a natural meteor shower in the sky at the time of the New Year Eve's artificial fireworks celebrations? Well, this year we had. We just discovered that our CAMS video camera surveillance of meteor showers in the Southern Hemisphere (CAMS New Zealand, with stations operated by Peter Aldous and Ian Crumpton) detected a previously unknown shower of naked-eye meteors that peaked at the time of the local new year's eve celebrations. One out of three meteors that night came from this shower. The new shower is now known as the Volantids, named after the constellation Volans, the flying fish, from where the meteoroids appear to approach us. A confined stream of dust particles must have been steered into Earth's path for a brief moment, because the shower was not seen the prior year and not known from past observations. Interestingly, we can't identify yet where this dust is coming from. The source is a Jupiter-family comet that must now be in a relatively highly inclined orbit.
[Paper submitted to JIMO]
Overview of all CAMS network data from December 2015.
Since our announcement, the Desert Fireball Network in Australia has identified a number of Volantids in their data. Two representative images are shown below, courtesy of Hadrien Devillepoix and Phil Bland. Clicking on the image provides a better view. These were all bright meteors, much brighter than -4 magnitude (Venus). It seems some meteors may have been as bright as artificial fireworks for a ground-based observer.
A likely Volantid meteor captured by the Desert Fireball Network in Ausralia. Photo: Desert Fireball Network/Curtin University.
A second Volantid meteor captured by the Desert Fireball Network. Photo: Desert Fireball Network/Curtin University.
Ian Griffin obtained this time lapse video of aurora with meteors from Hoopers Inlet at the Otago Peninsula of southern New Zealand in the night of January 1.
2016, February 7 - In December, the CAMS network in California detected 6355 meteors, CAMS BeNeLux collected 1589, CAMS Florida added 232, and CAMS Mid-Antlantic measured 68. CAMS New Zealand results for December add up to 574 meteors from 21 nights. The graphs above shows how individual cameras in the CAMS California and CAMS NZ networks performed. The graph below shows the evolution of overall counts over the years in the CAMS BeNeLux network. [Statistic overview CAMS BeNeLux (pdf)]
2016, January 24 - A meteorite fell in Florida today during daytime at around 10:24 EST (or 15:24 UT). A strong radar return was noticed by Mark Fries and Rob Matson, which led hunters in recovering the meteorites. Andy Howell from the CAMS Florida network is searching for video records.
Update 2/17: Andy Howell reports that Mike Hankey has now located one video that captured the meteor.
2016, January 28 - Tonight was first light for station 1 in the United Arab Emirates Astronomical Camera Network. Based on the single-CAMS approach, this future CAMS network will deploy three stations of 16 cameras each, as well as an independent all-sky video camera. The network is sponsored by the UAE Space Agency. Dave Samuels and Steve Rau worked with principal investigator Mohammad Odeh to set up the scripts.
2016, January 3 -
Happy New Year! The new CAMS-related articles in the journal Icarus (1 March 2016 issue, Vol. 266, pages 331-354, 355-370, 371-383, and 384-409, respectively) are now available online (free download until February 28):
I. The Established Meteor Showers as observed by CAMS
II. CAMS Confirmation of Previously Reported Meteor Showers
III. CAMS Verification of Single-Linked High-Threshold D-Criterion Detected Meteor Showers
IV. CAMS Newly detected showers and the sporadic background
2016, January 2 - Phil Bland and Robert Howle report the first recovery of a meteorite by the Desert Fireball Network in Australia. The meteorite is an ordinary chondrite. "There's obviously a lot we'll do with the meteorite, but it's great to know that the system works!", says Bland.
2015, December 22 - A paper "Evidene for 2009WN25 being the parent body of the November i-Draconids (NID)" by Marco Micheli, David J. Tholen and Peter Jenniskens was accepted for publication in Icarus. In this paper, Marco compares modeling results of meteoroid stream dynamics to the CAMS data obtained for this shower. [Article downloadable on Arxiv]
2015, December 10 - Pete Gural created this compilation of the Geminid meteor shower observed as single tracks by CAMS in the night of December 13, 2012. The meteors' path in the sky are plotted in gnomonic projection, moving in straight lines against the star background. Each streak is color coded to show the angular velocity, with meteors further from the radiant appearing swifter.
2015, December 1 - The CAMS Meteoroid Orbit Database version 2.0 was released today, containing data up to the end of March, 2013. This data is discussed in the recent Icarus papers.
The distribution of semi-major axis for sporadic meteors observed by CAMS (about 1-cm sized meteoroids), and by the radar systems CMOR (0.1-cm) and AMOR (0.01-cm). Note that CAMS data contain some of the same Poynting-Robertson evolved population of meteoroids that dominate the CMOR and AMOR data.
2015, November 27 - The journal Icarus now has accepted our fourth CAMS paper: "CAMS Newly Detected Meteor Showers and the Sporadic Background". Aside from 60 newly identified meteor showers, 28 of which are also detected independently in the SonotaCo survey, this paper reports that CAMS data contain a Poynting-Robertson evolved population of sporadic meteors. That means that the collisional lifetime of large cm-sized particles is much longer than astronomers assumed. Most of the large particles are lost, instead, by processes other than collisions.
2015, November 26 - Happy Thanksgiving. The Meteoritical Society published the Bulletin on Creston, the meteorite fall that occurred in California in the evening of October 23. It is an L6 ordinary chondrite. As of November 10, four meteorites were found by meteorite hunters.
2015, November 13 - Successful observation of the re-entry of space debris object WT1190F.
The Cloud as seen from the Sunnyvale CAMS station (Jim Albers).
2015, November 7 - A bright cloud of particles from a Navy missile test scattered sunlight shortly after sunset and created this display for viewers in the SF Bay Area at around 6:01 pm PST this evening.
This fireball was captured in an all-sky camera located at the CAMS station site in Sunnyvale on 2015 October 24 between 05:47:27 and 05:47:57 UT.
2015, October 24 - A bright fireball was captured in our allsky camera in Sunnyvale, California, in a south-eastern direction on Friday night October 23 at 22:47 local time. The firball appeared just outside of the CAMS survey area, but was widely reported to the American Meteor Society. Sonic booms were heard and it is possible that meteorites may have fallen. If you captured this meteor in video security footage or in photographs (Fresno area, southern California, Central California), please contact Dr. Peter Jenniskens.