Greetings again all,
It was indeed great to be out once again under the starry heavens at Matanzas Inlet, Florida (MI) this morning! I picked out a new observing location this time, around the “back” or west bank of MI on the park boundary between the Helen Mellon Schmidt County Park and the Fort Matanzas National Monument. I set up right alongside the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in an ideal setting, except for a few of the persistent MI sand gnats…:o(. Jumping mullet in the ICW right next to me kept me company all morning long…;o).
The skies however, were sensational as always and the full 360 degree horizons in all directions allowed me to catch two real prizes during the watch! I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect as I have had very few pre-max April Lyrid (LYR) observing session opportunities in the past, yet they surprised me pleasantly to say the least!
I started in right at 2:00 a. m., EDT and my first meteor about ten minutes later was a beautiful yellow/orange, -2 LYR low in the SSW sky in Centaurus – a great way to start the watch indeed! It hit at least 80 to 90 degrees away from the radiant position at that point. The wide MI skies were the only reason I was able to catch that baby…;o). And more was to come… Here is the data:
April 20/21, 2017, Observer: Paul Jones, Location next to west bank of Matanzas Inlet and east bank of the Intracoastal Waterway, Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Augustine, Florida, Latitude: 29 degrees, 42 minutes N, Longitude: 81 degrees,14 minutes W (15 miles south of St. Augustine, Florida),
Observed for radiants:
LYR: April Lyrids
ANT: Anthelion radiant
SLE: sigma Leonids
AEC: April Rho Cygnids
SPO: sporadic meteors
0200 – 0300 EDT (0600 – 0700 UT) Teff: 1.0 hour, no breaks, Limiting Magnitude 6.5, sky conditions: clear, facing south
7 LYR: -2, +2, +3(2), +4(2), +5
1 ANT: +3
8 SPO: +3(2), +43), +5(3)
16 total meteors
The minus two LYR was yellow/orange in color and left a short train, path length: 14 degrees
0300 – 0400 EDT (0700 – 0800 UT) Teff: 1.0 hour, no breaks, Limiting Magnitude: 6.5, sky conditions: clear, facing south
8 LYR: -5, +1, +2, +3(3). +4, 5
1 ANT: zero magnitude
1 SLE: +2
9 SPO: +2, +3(3), +4(3), +5(2)
19 total meteors
The minus five LYR fireball appeared low in the east at 3:49 a.m. EDT (7:49 UT) and blazed a bright blue-white in color with a short train dropping straight into the eastern horizon at about 60 degrees azimuth. The initial -5 burst was what caught my eye and was the most intense flare, it faded out in a secondary burst of about minus two, total path length was about fifteen degrees – an AWESOME meteor and right out of the LYR radiant! I let out a hoot like an owl on that one for sure!!
The zero magnitude ANT in hour two was also a stunning meteor, streaking slowly due east through Ophiuchus with a nice train and a 25 degree long path length – I LOVE them like that! Only a few minutes before, I caught the one lone SLE dropping very slowly south straight out of the radiant near zeta Virginis – a classic line-up! Overall, the LYR meteors I saw were rather short in path length and appeared very Geminid-like in their velocities. With the exception of the two negative magnitude LYRs, which both exhibited some noticable flaring in their path, the rest of the LYRs I saw were very evenly bright along their path, usually about five or six degrees or so in length and stood out very well against the jet black sky behind them.
After the second hour, the rising, waning crescent moon in the ESE began to interfere somewhat with the pristine skies and the damp, cool air began to get to me, so I wrapped it up for the night, very pleased indeed overall with what I saw! Brenda and Dave Branchett also got out for a bit this morning albeit after moonrise, and they came away with a few more nice LYRs after I packed it in. Here is their report from Deltona, Florida:
Here is short report!!
Date: April 21, 2017, Location: Deltona, Florida
Sky conditions—partial moon, 60 percent sky visible, 4.5 mag star visible
Time — 4:30-5:00 a.m.
Total — 2
Lyrids – 7 ( magnitude averaged 3rd, did see one 2nd magnitude.)
We’ll be at it again tonight for the maximum, anyone in the area who would like to join us, I’ll be with Bob ad Michelle Wolski on the fairway of the St. Johns Country Club fairway behind their house. Anyone up for joining us? Give me a shout, email or text if you would like to come out with us! The more the merrier…;o).
See everyone tomorrow night at Brenda and Dave’s house! Paul (904) 347-7254