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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 MA
Atlantic map of station locations.
map FL
Florida 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:

Pitt Island search

2014, September 21 - Greetings from Pitt Island (part of the Chatham Islands of New Zealand), where Peter Jenniskens engaged the community in searching for meteorites from an 0.82 kiloton fireball detected on May 16, 12:42:48 UT. The fireball was recorded by satellites from orbit and a nearby infrasound station on the main island, as first pointed out by Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario. In a project with meteor astronomer Jack Baggaley of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, Jenniskens collected eye witness reports to refine the search area and gave talks at all schools on the islands. On Pitt Island, he was hosted by Suzanne Kiel, prinicipal at the Pitt Island school. Land owners and Department of Conservation staff gave permission to search. The search is ongoing. So far, only a beautifully carved Moriori adze (a hand ax) was found by assistant teacher, and small part Maori, Stacey Crawford.

coverage area

2014, September 18 - The camera box at West Melton was slightly further tilted towards Geraldine for better coverage. The combined coverage map shows (white) gaps where only one camera covers the region at 90-km altitude. Amateur astronomers in the area interested in helping cover these areas by means of their own single-CAMS camera should contact Ian Crumpton in West Melton.

first light

2014, September 13 - First light. Radiant positions of the 60 meteors filmed in the first night of operation of CAMS New Zealand. Several meteor showers are detected.

first result

2014, September 13 - This double-peaked +3.3 magnitude meteor moving from 88 to 80 km altitude is the first meteor captured by the CAMS New Zealand network, which occurred at 07:48 UT on September 11. In this partially cloudy night, 60 precise meteor trajectories were measured. The first of the new network. The figure shows the lightcurve of the meteor (top left), a side view of the trajectory (bottom left) and a top view (top right). This relatively slow (15.8 km/s) meteor arrived from a -66.7 degree declination (and 303.9 degree right ascension) in the southern hemisphere.

coverage area

2014, September 13 - This figure (courtesy of Dave Samuels) shows the coverage area of the CAMS New Zealand stations West Melton and Geraldine. Click on image for higher resolution.

Wes Jones

2014, September 12 - This morning, around 6 a.m. (13h UT), a streak and white cloud was observed by hundreds in the San Francisco Bay area. Wes Jones in Belmont captured these images of the cloud as it dissipated. Update: According to the news, this was the result of a Trident launch.

Geraldine station

2014, September 11 - Station Geraldine. As of 10 pm this evening, local time, the CAMS New Zealand network is in full operation. Photographer, supernova hunter and connaisseur of "pretty astronomy pictures" Peter Aldous in Geraldine is host to the second station aimed towards West Melton. Peter and Ian installed a small platform, prepared by Graeme Plank, next to the Geraldine Obervatory dome and the computer was setup inside the control room. The cameras were focussed on the stars. Relatives of Ian stopped by and received the first public tour of the newly upgraded Geraldine Observatory.

West Melton station

2014, September 10 - Station West Melton of the CAMS New Zealand network is now operational. Operator Ian Crumpton is seen here with the camera box. He created a small platform for the camera box and worked with University of Canterbury technician Graeme Plank to install the cameras. The first night of operations was clear and cold (-3 degrees Celcius). Now waiting for the second station in Geraldine to be installed.

2014, September 8 - Peter Jenniskens has left for New Zealand to visit Canterbury Astronomical Society members Ian Crumpton and Peter Aldous in setting up a southern hemisphere meteor survey in a joint project with Prof. Jack Baggaley of the University of Canterbury.

2014, September 5 - Some isolated radar reflections in Doppler weather radar data gathered by Jason Utas suggest that 10-g meteorites may have fallen from the June 2, 09:48:28 UT, fireball (see update below). So far, no meteorites have been found.

single CAMS locations

2014, September 5 - Dave Samuels reports an updated layout of the SingleCAMS network in California. He developed a new CAMS Pointing Tool based on software created by Chris Verness of Belgium to create such maps.

2014, August 23 - This Saturday is the annual Starbeque at Fremont Peak Observatory. A barbeque combined with talk (Brian Day on Ladee) and stargazing. Interested in setting up your own CAMS camera? Join us to hear the latest on the CAMS project. The event starts at 4:30 pm, Saturday August 23.

Novato fireball
MAPS August issue cover: The October 17, 2012, Novato meteorite fall in images taken from Santa Rosa by Robert P. Moreno, Jr., compliation by J. Albers and P. Jenniskens. [Higher resolution version]

cover 2014, August 15 - Two manuscripts from a consortium study of the Novato meteorite will be published in the August issue of the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science. [Manuscripts online at EarlyView] [NASA press release]

2014, August 11 - J. Andreas (Andy) Howell reports from Gainesville, Florida, that a two-station Single-CAMS network was established with Barbara Harris at New Smyrna Beach. First light was during the Camelopardalid shower. In two months, over 500 Coincidences were contributed to the CAMS trajectory database.

JIMO cover

July 22, 2014 - Naked eye observers were 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 the weak activity of 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]

2014 June 2 fireball

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.
Update: Purple areas show possible radar reflections from fallen meteorites, in data gathered by Jason Utas.

portrait portrait 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.

CAMS at Lick

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.

radiant map
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 17 - At 01:27:48 a.m. local time this morning, a bright fireball appeared near the Chatham Islands. US Government satellites detected an 0.82 kiloton impact just north of Pitt Island.

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]

[News archive]

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

Last update: (see date of latest blog entry)
Hosted by: The SETI Institute