2017, July 29 - Peter Zimnikoval writes that the dust trail encounter with comet C/2015 D4 (Borisov) may also cause a noticeable uptick of lunar impact flashes if there are enough large meteoroids in the trail. He writes: "Of course, no one knowns if particles in the stream will reach sizes to be detected this way." If it does, the Moon happens to be in a favorable geometry to see this, with best viewing at the longitude of the central USA. The trail will hit the Moon a little later than Earth. Train your telescope at the dark side of the Moon in the area dotted in the attached graph.
2017, July 29 (00:22 UT) - Earth is about to travel through the 1-revolution dust trail of long-period (700 year) comet C/2015 D4 (Borisov).
Only about once every 25 years is such an intermediate long-period comet discovered that passes close enough to Earth's orbit to have dust trail encounters. This one passed perihelion in 2014. On July 29 at 0h22m UT, we are crossing the trail just behind the comet and near the center on the inside [Read more: CBET], both favorable conditions for meteor activity. However, we do not know if the comet was active in the previous return. No annual shower is known from this comet. If meteoroids were released, the shower may be visible from South Africa, radiating from the constellation Columba near the horizon in the south east.
[Picture of the comet, courtesy of G. Borisov]
2017, July 23 - First light tonight for the CAMS South Africa network. 87 meteoroid orbits!! Network coordinator is Tim Cooper, former director of the Meteor Section of ASSA, who operates four Watec Wat902H cameras from Bredell, a suburb of Johannesburg. Four more cameras are operated by Oleg Toumilovich from Victoria Park, at a distance of 31 km. Setup support was provided by Steve Rau. Stations are ready for the upcoming encounter with the dust trail of comet C/2015 D4 (Borisov) on July 29.
2017, June 26 - The Frontier Development Lab has started its activities. The FDL Comet Team that will work to automate the CAMS data processing consists of (from left to right): Susana Zoghbi, Antonio Ordonez, Andres Plata Stapper, and Marcelo de Cicco. They will work on deep-learning tools to filter and process the data. In addition, Jack Collison will provide support with the data processing automation. Pete Gural is the technical mentor.
2017, June 15 - Carl Johannink reports that there are now 71 cameras in the BeNeLux network, with the latest additions on the islands of Texel and Terschelling.
2017, June 12 - Winners of the New York Times Eight Annual Found Poem Contest includes a poem by Julianne Yu titled "Naive", which was inspired by Ian Webster's display of the CAMS meteor shower data in Peter Jenniskens' article on Warped Meteor Showers. 15 winners were selected out of 2360 teenagers who entered the contest. [ Read more]
2017, May 10 - Job offer: Are you a post doctoral student or late in your PhD and have an interest in deep learning and planetary defense? Consider applying to NASA's Frontier Development Lab this year. For 8 weeks, following June 26, an international team of computer scientists and planetary scientists will meet at the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center to work on two problems: improve asteroid shape modeling and enable the early warning of long-period comets using CAMS. The application deadline is May 19.
LO-CAMS detection of the May 5 fireball. Mosaic by Jim Albers.
2017, May 10 - Nick Moskovitz reports that the LO-CAMS DCT station detected the final part of a fireball on May 5 at 09:55:58 UT. It was not recorded by the Mars Hill station. AMS has the event listed as number 1582-2017. Turkey Springs Observatory in Payson, AZ, also detected the meteor in one of the Sky Sentinel network cameras. Andy Howell re-calibrated this data. Results were combined and we found the slow-moving meteor was asteroidal in nature and moved from 79-km altitude (33.532N, 112.601W) near Phoenix to 31-km altitude (34.683N, 111.613W) near the DCT.
2017, May 1 - Data reduction for 2016 has been completed. The CAMS network as a whole captured 106,000 meteoroid orbits. California: 38,331; BeNeLux: 25,132; New Zealand: 16,118; LOCAMS: 12,267; UAE: 10,118; Florida: 3,137; Mid-Atlantic: 942. Much of the gain compared to 2015 is on account of the new networks in Arizona (LOCAMS) and the United Arab Emirates (UACN). The BeNeLux network continued to grow. New Zealand also had a rich crop this year.
2017, April 30 - Peter Gural reports that new version CAMS2.1 now includes a number of refinements. Amongst others, the rotation of Earth for the individual observation stations is calculated as opposed to rotation below the trajectory only, an improvement suggested by Denis Vida. It is now also possile to select the cloud of points that sample the trajectory solutions, for slower or faster convergence.
2017, April 10 - A new 60-camera wide-angle low-light meteor camera network has been in operation in Brazil since May of 2015, with survey areas in 10 states but mostly along the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo east coast. It is called EXCOSS and based on the UFOCapture software. At ACM 2017, Marcelo De Cicco reported that the yield so far is 1,276 orbits.
CAMS New Zealand detected meteor showers, preliminary results.
2017, April 6 - The CAMS New Zealand data were re-processed using the new CAMS 2.0 trajectory solver implemented by Pete Gural. 24,900 meteor orbits were obtained so far. Results will be presented by Peter Jenniskens and Jack Baggaley at the Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 2017 meeting in Montevideo (Uruguay) next week.
2017, March 24 - The New York Times did a story on Ian's meteoroid stream visualization tool today.
2017, March 20 - Pete Gural created a software tool to extract the brightness of one star from a collection of CAMS calibration files. Precision in individual measurements is about +/- 0.3 magnitudes (one sigma).
2017, March 14 - Mohammad Odeh reports that station UANC1 has been taken off-line also.
2017, March 12 - CAMS BeNeLux participants met today in Oostkapelle, the Netherlands. The network was started 5 years ago and "the number of orbits collected exceeds the wildest speculations with over 63,000 orbits so far". [Report]
2017, March 11 - Peter Jenniskens presented a talk on the CAMS results to the San Jose Astronomical Association, members of which are supporting the CAMS network in California.
2017, March 8 - Peter Jenniskens has taken stock of low-light video meteor observations to date in a review paper on meteor showers for the Meteoroids 2016 meeting proceedings, accepted for publication in the journal Planetary Space Science. After plotting the radiants in sun-centered coordinates (taking out Earth's motion), 18 Jupiter family comet showers and 27 long-period (Hally-type) comet showers are detected that have a moving radiant over periods of 15 days or longer. The structure of two of those streams, the kappa Cygnids and omicron Eridanids, were visualized by Ian Webster, who plotted the orbits in our new meteor shower visualization tool. By clicking on the animation and by dragging the cursor to change perspective, it is fun and instructive to see how the stream is warped in space.
[News story] Animation:
Representative ion dihydroxymagnesium-n-pentanoate [(OH)2MgO2CC4H9]-
2017, March 6 - A paper in PNAS last week announced the discovery of a unique class of metal-organic compounds. They were found in some of the pristine meteorites we recovered in our past case studies, including Novato and Chelyabinsk. [More]
2017, February 25 - Mohammad Odeh reports that station UACN2 was taken offline today and will be moved to a new location in the near future.
2017, February 20 - CAMS California detected an outburst of Ursids on December 22, 2016, caused by the 1076 A.D. dust of comet 8P/Tuttle. [CBET 4363]
2017, February 18 - Paul Roggemans posted this overview of CAMS Benelux in 2016.
2017, February 9 - Dick Spalding, the father of the Sentinel all-sky camera network, has passed away. Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer at NASA wrote: "He was a great man as well as an insightful scientist and a hero to us all, albeit largely unsung. It is nice to see this latest paper come out and know that he was active to the end in uncovering the mysteries of nature. He will of course be greatly missed, but I hope he was heartened in his last days by seeing us finally making progress in getting bolide reports instituted into our warning infrastructure. In his memory, we will redouble our efforts to make full use of what he had shown us of what is possible to better understand the science of natural objects entering our atmosphere in service of better protection of all human popuations and our collective society." Mark Boslough added: "He was a pioneer and a tireless behind-the-sceness supporter of our field. One of the most creative thinkers I have ever known."
2017, January 20 - The Journal of the International Meteor Organization published our paper confirming the delta Mensids shower, based on observations from the CAMS New Zealand network.
2017, January 18 - Artist Scott Kildall had the official opening of his Strewn Fields project in a gallery in San Francisco on December 5. Now, his website is updated with images of the artwork. The project is a data-vizualization of meteorite impact data etched into stone. Working with Peter Jenniskens, Scott's artwork is inspired by the strewnfields of Almahata Sitta, Sutter's Mill, Chelyabinsk, and Saricicek.
2017, January 3 - Carl Johannink reports that a fireball appeared over Belgium in the CAMS BeNeLux survey area on January 3 at 02:10:49 UT. The meteoroid arrived on an asteroidal orbit, entered at 15.6 km/s and traveled ENE from Roeselare to Ghent in the CAMS cameras operated by Klaas Jobse, Paul Roggemans and Luc Gobin. From all-sky images, Marco Langbroek derived an end point at 30 km altitude over Antwerp. From this, Peter Jenniskens calculated a preliminary fall area just east of Antwerp near the town of Schilde.
January 3 meteor in All-sky Astrolab Iris camera by F. Dubois. [More]
Fall area based on vertical wind data provided by J. Kuiper.
CAMS camera 389 by Paul Roggemans captured the end of the fireball, where it had split into at least two fragments. [More]
2017, January 2 - Notice: The new year brings a new leap second. Pete Gural asks to please update your LeapSeconds.txt file by adding "2457754.5 37.0 Jan 2017".
2017, January 1 - Happy New Year from the CAMS team! Software engineer Ian Webster worked with Peter Jenniskens to create this visualization tool of CAMS data. You can display all showers that were identified in the March 2013 release, including the sporadic background! Use cursor to change viewing perspective. Above are the Quadrantids, currently active for northern hemisphere observers.
2016, December 31 - Carl Johannink reports that CAMS BeNeLux participant Jos Nijland of Benningbroek and his family are safe after a devastating fire destroyed their home and belongings in the early morning of December 31. CAMS cameras 358/359 and the European Network All-sky Station EN95 will be temporary offline. Among the lost items is the visual archive of the Dutch Meteor Society. Members will make an effort to rebuild the archive from existing copies.
2016, December 22 - Peter Gural updated the MeteorAutoCal software to process monthly batches. The new tool greatly eased the data reduction effort for CAMS New Zealand. Peter Jenniskens now reports he has caught up with data reduction for this network.
2016, December 12 - The Geminids are in full swing. Koen Miskotte created this compilation of video-detected Geminids in the constellation of Gemini.
2016, November 28 - Jim Wray's Foresthill station is off-line.
2016, November 13 - A strong 7.8 magnitude earthquake and several 6-mangitude aftershocks occurred north of Christchurch today. Ian Crumpton reports: "We had a relatively mild shake here, but no damage and no problems. CAMS are functioning normally. Most damage was to the north of us."
2016, November 12 - Peter Jenniskens reports that a March 2016 technical adjustment at Geraldine Observatory removed noise, eased the data calibration, and improved the yield of the CAMS New Zealand network dramatically. CAMS New Zealand measured a record 2,071 precise orbits in April. The graph above shows the radiant positions in sun-centered ecliptic coordinates.
2016, October 30 - Jim Albers reports that he was going through the Tehachapi CAMS data for October 24, 2016, and noticed a pattern in the maxpixel frame he had not seen in our data before. It was an extended area at the bottom left of the frame and several linear features up to the right. In the movie it turned out to be a single frame event. Historic lightning data from California shows there were lightning strikes over the Central Valley/Sierra foothills where the camera is pointed at that time. This suggests these are sprites.
2016, October 26 - Data reduction of Lowell Observatory's LO-CAMS network is complete until the end of September. Starting on April 22, 2016, a total of 5604 precise orbits were measured as well as some 2350 (with some duplicates) not-so-precise orbits. The latter include short tracks and tracks for which the speed was measured less accurately than 10 percent. The measured radiant positions from both data sets, in sun-centered ecliptic coordinates, are shown in the figure above.
2016, October 22 - Orionids are performing normal this year. No outburst has been reported.