Greetings again all,
I was able to get out again yesterday morning (Oct., 23/24, 2016) for two more very productive pre-dawn hours, checking out the post maximum activity of the Orionids. This time, I was back on the trusty “meteor roof” of my home on Crazy Horse Trail in St. Augustine, Florida. I figured with the moon still depressing the morning skies, there was no real reason to travel to a darker sky spot and I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was able to do from the roof, a mere thirty feet from my bedroom!
All told in the two hours (4:00 – 6:00 a.m.), I had a total of 64 meteors, with hourly Orionid counts of 14 and 26. I was lucky to catch a “mini-spurt” of Orionids in the second hour that almost doubled the count! The Orionids are great at having these mini-spurts in their activity levels and I’ve seen it several times from them in recent years. No other meteor shower does it quite like the Orionids do!
Here’s my data:
Observed for radiants:
STA: Southern Taurids
EGE: epsilon Geminids
LMI: Leonis Minorids
Date: October 23/24, 2016 Observer: Paul Jones, Location: 5 miles southwest of St. Augustine, Florida, Lat: 29.84 N, Long:81.32W, LM: 5.8, sky conditions: 25% moonlight degradation, Facing: south.
0400 – 0500 EDT (0800 – 0900 UT), Teff: 1.0 hour, no breaks
14 ORI: +1, +2(2), +3(6), +4(5)
1 STA: +3
1 EGE: +1
7 SPO: +1 +2, +3(3), +4(2)
23 total meteors
6 of the 14 ORIs left visible trains, most common colors were bluish white and yellow in the brighter ones.
0500 – 0600 EDT (0900 – 1000 UT), Teff: 1.0 hour, no breaks
26 ORI: -1, +1, +2(4), +3(11), +4(7), +5(2)
2 STA: +2, +3
2 EGE: +2, +4
1 LMI: +3
10 SPO: 0, +1, +2(2), +3(4), +5(2)
41 total meteors
11 of the 26 Orionids left visible trains and once again the most observed colors were bluish white and yellow.
For several reasons, the Orionids are my favorite of the annual major meteor shower to observe and have been since the 1970s. First of all, they are pieces of arguably the most famous comet in the history of astronomy – Halley’s Comet! Second, they are by far the most challenging of the major showers to observe successfully due to the faintness of their meteors and the wee hours in which they finally “switch on” their activity level.
But mostly, it is because they usually occur right about the time when we get that first cool snap of the fall season that brings in chilly, crisp and very clear nights with the winter constellations blazing away in all their glory in the pre-dawn and a sky full of faint and short Orionids glittering like sparkling little diamonds against the jet black skies. I look forward to the Orionids all year, and in 2017 they hit at New Moon – YAY!!
Clear skies all, Paul