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Day-by-day tally


video This example video [233 MByte, avi format] shows the results from one camera in the night of November 1. Early in the night, clouds obscure the stars. Airplanes are seen passing through the field of view. Later, the sky clears and numerous meteors are being detected.

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,
Support Astronomer at Mt. Hamilton's Lick Observatory
[Career pages]

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

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

Mission statement - CAMS is an automated video surveillance of the night sky in search of meteors to validate minor showers in the IAU Working List of Meteor Showers. Stations are located in California. [Contact]

FPO Clear Sky Clock:
Lick Clear Sky Clock:
Mountain View Clear Sky Clock:
Lodi Clear Sky Clock:

2012 April 22 Sutter's Mill meteorite fall:

[Sutter's Mill Meteorite Consortium website]

News blog:

Sutter's Mill fall
Photo of Sutter's Mill fall by Lisa Warren.

2012, December 21 - Today in the journal Science, 70 authors published a report on the first two months of studies on the fall of the Sutter's Mill meteorite and its properties. Sutter's Mill was found to have arrived from the asteroid belt recently, on an orbit that still points to its source region. The meteorites are unusually diverse, composed of rocks within rocks, the first time a CM chondrtie is clearly a regolith breccia. The rapid recovery, thanks to the first detection of falling meteorites from a carbonaceous chondrite fall by Doppler weather radar, provided the most pristine look yet at the former surface of the CM chondrite parent body asteroid.
[Supporting Online Materials]
[Interview: Youtube video]

Sutter's Mill Search Team
Signing off on a successful campaign. From left to right: Steve Herrin, Wendy Guglieri, Peter Jenniskens, Nancy Hood, Kevin Heider and Herb Tanimoto.

2012, September 21 - NASA Ames Research Center has invited those who participated as volunteers in multiple meteorite searches and the land owners who made the searches possible to attend a special event on Friday September 21. In the early morning, the space shuttle will fly past Ames on its way to a museum in Los Angeles. After the shuttle fly-by, a tour will be given of NASA Ames Research Center.

2012, September 18 - Peter Jenniskens gave a presentation to the Eldorado Mineral and Gem Society, calling members to keep searching for the meteorites. The last finds were at the end of June, but the weather is much cooler now and the vegitation has died off, so that chances are up for finding further meteorites.

2012, September 18 - Discovery Channel Canda has aired the item about Bev Girten's find SM67 at the Spies property (See below). It is featured 4 minutes and 6 seconds into this part 2 of the program “Daily Plant”.

2012, August 12-18 - A special session on the Sutter's Mill meteorite was held at the Meteoritical Society meeting in Cairns, Australia.

2012, July 20 - The September issue of Sky and Telescope features an overview article about the first year of observations by CAMS. A series of maps combining CAMS and SonotaCo data identify the first 64 established meteor showers by the International Astronomical Union.

2012, July 14 + July 15 - This weekend will be our final organized search effort. We are meeting in the parking lot of the Sutter's Mill replica in the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It will be warm, so please bring a hat and a small backpack for hiking, and much water to carry with you. Also bring suitable footware for steep terrain. Also bring your Sutter's Mill Meteor shirt.

SM67 find june 17 Find of SM67 by Bev Girten of NASA Ames Research Center on June 17, 2012.

2012, June 30 + July 1 - The upcoming searches on Saturday June 30 and Sunday July 1 are expected to be our final organized search efforts to collect material for research. On both days, we will meet at 10 a.m. at the museum/visitor center of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. During our previous search on Sunday June 17, Beverly Girten of NASA Ames Research Center (front in picture above) found a small 0.35g fragment at the property of Larry Spies. The new find, albeit small, samples the asteroid at a new location and was greeted with great joy.

2012, June 18 - NASA Ames Academy student Anthony Berdue arrived at the SETI Institute for an internship that will last into December and has started work on the next generation CAMS project.

search June16 Search for Sutter's Mill meteorites on June 16, 2012

2012, June 16+17 - Last weekend, we were given excellent opportunities to find fragments, but no luck yet. We do plan to continue the effort at least until July 1 and meet again for an organized search this weekend. As before, we meet at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the museum/visitor center of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma.

2012, June 11 - At the SETI Institute, SETI Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student Kathryn Steakley has started work on the reduction of the CAMS data.

2012, June 9+10 - We are planning to continue the search this weekend. We are meeting again at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and again on Sunday.

2012, June 2 - Peter serviced the CAMS station at Fremont Peak Observatory and found that all cameras were running normally.

2012, June 2+3 - We are planning two search activities this weekend June 2 + 3. It will be hot, so bring a lot of water, sunscreen, hat and clothes that protect against sunburn and dehydration.

  • At Dos Palos, we have a window of opportunity in searching the second hay field of the site searched in March. This will be our last opportunity to recover material from the September fireball. The field has now been leased for melons and the lessee is scheduled to begin ground work on Monday the 4th of June. Peter Jenniskens is leading this effort. Plan is to meet a 8 a.m. at the Dos Palos High School, on Saturday morning June 2, as we did in March. Please contact Peter if you plan to participate.
  • At Coloma, Bev Girten is planning to lead a search team to search for 20-g fragments of the Sutter's Mill fall on both Saturday June 2 and Sunday June 3. Volunteers will meet at 10 a.m. at the museum of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Please park your car along the street instead of in the museum parking lot itself so as not to disrupt the visitors to the museum.

2012, May 26 - Another organized search to recover material for research was conducted on Saturday May 26 and Sunday May 27. Eleven volunteers met at 10 a.m. at the museum of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. On Saturday, we had great weather conditions and a perfect grassy area above Coloma to search for smaller fragments. On Sunday, we continued the search for smaller fragments near Kelsey. No finds were made.

2012, May 20 - Peter Jenniskens provided a brief summary of the Sutter's Mill fall and recovery efforts at the Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 2012 meeting in Niigata, Japan.

2012, May 16 - 15 grams of Sutter's Mill were donated to the OSIRIS-Rex mission team, lead by Dante Laureta of the University of Arizona. OSIRIS-Rex is required to bring back at least 15 gram of material from an asteroid, expected to be similar to Sutter's Mill. The material will be used to practice post-flight sample handling and analysis procedures.

2012, May 10 - Another organized search to recover material for research will be conducted on Saturday May 12. We are meeting at 10 a.m. at the museum of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma.

2012, May 10 - Sutter's Mill: the movie. Today the NASA Lunar Science Institute released a video showing the find of one of the Sutter's Mill meteorites during a volunteer search to recover asteroid material for research. [ Press Release ]

2012, May 3 - Today NASA and SETI Institute scientists were given the opportunity to survey the meteorite strewn field from a zeppelin, operated by Airship Ventures at NASA Ames Research Center. Peter Jenniskens, Derek Sears, Michael Koop and local citizen and American River Conservancy director Alan Ehrgott searched from 1:15 to 6:15 pm, under ideal lighting conditions. Because of cloudy skies, there were no shadows.

2012, April 30 - A consortium of scientists called the "Sutter's Mill Meteorite Consortium" will analyse the meteorites recovered for research to date.

group photo

2012, April 29 - Success! Some 40 volunteers and scientists from NASA Ames and the SETI Institute searched all day Saturday, but initially came up empty... They searched in the Marshall Gold Discovery Historic Park, in BLM lands and along Salmon Fall Road. On Sunday, however, a select group of ten volunteers searched (photo above), on behalf of NASA, on a private property owned by the De Haas family and were successful. find SM12 Monika "Moni" Waiblinger, who took the group photo above, found a 17g meteorite that can now be used for scientific research. The meteorite is fully crusted, which helped protect its inside from the outside environment. We thank the De Haas family for making this search possible. The photo right shows, from left to right, meteor astronomer Peter Jenniskens with meteorite SM12, finder Moni Waiblinger, the matriarch of the De Haas family with grand son, and volunteer Lee Wadley.

meteorite SM12 Meteorite Sutter's Mill #12. Photo: P. Jenniskens/SETI Institute - NASA ARC

2012, April 28 - On Saturday April 28, we plan to meet at 9:00 a.m. at the museum of the Marshall Gold Discovery Historic Park in Coloma, California, for a concerted search of the "Sutter's Mill" meteorite for scientific purposes in the Marshall Gold Discvoery State Park. Volunteers who are not current State Park volunteers will be required to register for day use in the park at $8 per car and sign in at the museum.

From 9 to 10 am, we will coordinate the search effort by showing you what we are looking for and by assigning groups of volunteers to experts from NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute and then assign areas to search to each team.

From 10 am to 5 pm, we will be conducting the search within the park. Bring lunch and lots of water. It is expected to be about 78F, sunny with partially cloudy skies. The park has toilet facilities.

Please bring strong footware (hiking boots) to walk on slippery and rocky terrain. Please bring sunscreen and a hat, as well as clothes that cover arms and legs. This is to both protect against sunburn and poison oak / poison ivy. Also, bring a water bottle that you can carry along to keep hydrated during the search, as well as lunch or snacks. If you have, please bring handheld gps devices. Please keep in mind that the search is expected to be strenuous and take all day.

Sutter's Mill meteorites
Sutter's Mill meteorite SM2. For high-res photo click on picture. Photo: NASA ARC-SETI Institute/P. Jenniskens

Sutter's Mill meteorites 2012, April 25 - Today, an urgent call was made to recover photographs and video of the fireball, before that data is overwritten. "Please check your video security camera footage around 7:51 a.m. on Sunday Morning April 22", says Dr. Jenniskens.

A "Sutter's Mill" consortium has been formed to study the recovered meteorites. Members include researchers at the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center, at NASA Goddard and NASA Johnson, and at the Planetary Science Institute and the University of Berkeley. International participants are from Italy. The meteorite interest group at NASA Ames has daily meetings to organize the research.

Sutter's Mill meteorites
Sutter's Mill meteorite. Photo: P. Jenniskens/SETI Institute-NASA ARC

2012, April 24 - First meteorites found! Around 11 a.m. this morning, Arizona meteorite hunter Robert Ward found the first two 2-cm sized meteorites of the "Sutter's Mill" meteorite along the entrance path of Henningsen-Lotus Park, not far from Sutter's Mill.

Later that same day, California meteor astronomer Peter Jenniskens makes the second find: a crushed 4g fragment in the parking lot of the Henningsen-Lotus Park, just meters from where the car was parked. Jenniskens had driven up with CAMS project volunteer Mike Koop of Lockheed Martin to investigate the possibility of a concerted search for meteorites in the Marshall Gold Discovery Historic Park in Coloma to collect material for scientific research. They met with park superintendent Jeremy Reynolds and were given a brief tour of potential search areas by park volunteer Ed Allen.

"I believe that James Marshall would have felt much as I did when he found the first gold at Sutter's Mill back in the day", says Jenniskens.

Sutter's Mill meteorites in situ Peter Jenniskens with Sutter's Mill meteorites

Images show the 4g meteorite in-situ in the Henningsen-Lotus parking lot, and a happy Dr. Jenniskens with the find, with Mike's car in the background at the very spot he had chosen to park it.

2012, April 23 - Astronomer Marc Fries of the Planetary Science Institute reports that the fragments crossed three Doppler weather radar beams. Marc concludes that large fragments are observed falling down at 14.1 km altitude at 14:52:06 UTC (seen in the KDAX 1.5 degree sweep), followed by smaller 100g fragments falling at 17,000 ft approximately 220s after the fireball (seen in the KRGX 1.5 degree radar sweep). The KDAX 3.5 degree sweep detects fragments in the 10g range 420 s after the fireball, falling at about 10,000 ft. The general area is near the townships of Coloma and Lotus, which contains the famous "Sutter's Mill", where John A. Sutter found the first gold in January 1848 that set off the gold rush.

2012, April 22 - At about 7:51 a.m. this morning, a loud sonic boom was heard over much of California's Sierra Nevada mountains around Lake Tahoe. A daytime fireball was seen in all of California and Nevada, even in southern Oregon and near Salt Lake City in Utah. The fireball was described as green, lasting 5 seconds or so. Lisa Warren near Reno obtained a series of three nice photographs over two seconds towards the very end of the fireball after its brightest point, when it already had fallen appart. The final image shows a slew of fragments falling towards earth.

[News archive]

SETI Institute logo Curator: Peter Jenniskens
Responsible NASA Official: Philippe Crane (PAST)

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