Greetings again all,
Five members of the Ancient City Astronomy Club (ACAC), St. Augustine, Florida had a pretty good look at the 2017 April Lyrid (LYR) maximum on Friday night/Saturday morning, April 21/22, even though sky conditions were a bit hazy and cloudy off and on throughout the night. Overall, the LYRs performed pretty much as expected with no evidence of any type of outburst noted, not at least from our area, that is.
I joined Bob and Michelle Wolski at their home on the fairway of the St. Johns Country Club and we hung in there until 0430 on Saturday morning, seeing brief spurts of good LYR activity, interspersed with long lulls of inactivity. My best hourly count during the session was 17 LYRs between 0200 and 0300 EDT. After 4:00 a.m. though, clouds began to come in worse so we packed it in for the morning.
Brenda and Dave Branchett also got out at their home in Deltona, Florida in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning and they logged 18 LYRs during their best hour’s count, which agrees well with what I was seeing from St. Augustine. Here is everyone’s data:
April 21/22, 2017 Observer: Paul Jones. Location: Cypress Lakes Subdivision, Elkton, Florida, Lat: 29.47.51 N, Long: 81.22.31 W (8 miles SW of St. Augustine, Florida)
Observed for radiants:
LYR: April Lyrids
SLE: sigma Leonids
ARC: April rho Cygnids
SPO sporadic meteors
0100 – 0200 EDT (0500 – 0600 UT) Teff: 1.0 hour, no breaks, LM: 6.0 sky conditions: clear, slight haze, facing: south
9 LYR: +2(2), +3(2), +4(5)
1 ANT: +3
6 SPO: +3(3), +4(3)
16 total meteors
0200 – 0300 EDT (0600 – 0700 UT) Teff: 1.0 hour, no breaks, LM: 6.2 sky conditions: clear, slight haze, facing: south
17 LYR: -1, +1, +2(3), +3 (5), +4(7)
2 SLE: +2, +3
1 ANT: +2
6 SPO: +2, +3(4), +4
26 total meteors
0300 – 0400 EDT (0700 – 0800 UT) Teff: 1.0 hour, no breaks, LM: 6.0 sky conditions: 15% clouds, slight haze, facing: south
15 LYR: -2, -1, 0, +1, +2(3), +3(4), +4(4)
1 ANT: +2
1 SLE: +3
8 SPO: +1, +2, +3(2), +4 (4)
0400 – 0430 EDT (0800 – 0830 UT)
5 LYR: 0, +2, +3(3)
3 SPO: -1, +3(2)
Overall, 11 of the 46 LYRs I had left visible trains, with blue white being the most commonly observed color. Most of the Lyrids were short and faint; however, the -1 LYR in the third hour was a beauty – over 15 degrees long and left a 2 second train on the sky. Also, the -2 LYR was seen low in the SW just five degrees away from Jupiter and equally as bright!
I was very proud of Bob, who hung in there with me right up until we called it quits about 4:30 a.m. He was unfazed by the long lulls in activity and is anxious to get back out for upcoming showers! Way to go, Bob!!
Meanwhile, down in Deltona, Florida Brenda and Dave Branchett also monitored the pre-dawn LYR activity on Saturday morning and did pretty well from down there. here are their results:
Date: April 22, 2017, Observer: Brenda Branchett, Location: Deltona, Florida, Lat: 28.9005 deg N, Long: 81.2637 deg W
Time: 4:30-5:30 a.m. (0830 – 0930 UT)
Sky Conditions: 70 percent sky visible. Magnitude of stars visible is 4.5-5.0 Did have a few minutes of passing cloud.
Lyrids — 18 ( Best I had was two 1st magnitude. Rest were 2nd or 3rd. Dave and I did see at two different times simultaneous Lyrids coming right out of the radiant. Then we had a low for 15 minutes with nothing! Patience is needed when meteor obsreving!!!)
Sporadics — 6
And Dave’s data (same location):
2017 Lyrid Meteor Maximum Observation Report
Location: Lat 28.9005 deg N Lat 81.2637 deg W
Date: April 22 2017
Observer: Dave Branchett
Time: 07h: 30m UT (03h: 30m am EDT)
Lyrids: 6 Sporadic 1
Time: 08h: 00m UT (04h: 00m am EDT)
Duration: 1 hour
Lyrids: 5 Sporadic 1
Note: Ten minutes into the hour clouds rolled in from the southeast, these clouds were low and for the most part scattered and moved a steady pace in a NNW direction.
Time: 09h: 00m UT (05h: 00m am EDT)
Duration: 30 minutes
Lyrids: 3 Sporadic 0
Note: The highlight of this session occurred shortly after it had begun when a simultaneous pair of meteors from the Lyrid shower appeared just south of Vega the fainter estimated mag 3 followed closely by the brighter approx mag 2. Shortly after this it was as though the radiant just turned off, even the sporadic meteors appeared to be in shut down mode.
For the most part during this third and final session the clouds had dispersed only to reappear again before day break.
A huge thank you to all the ACAC members who got out to record data on the 2017 April Lyrids Now it is on to the 2017 eta Aquariids, the first weekend in May. More to come from the citizen scientists of the ACAC!!
Keep looking up, Paul