August 26/27, 2017 – Observations from Norway
It is a rare event that a cloudless, moon free night falls on a Saturday, but this was the case on August 26. Although no major showers were active, I decided to head out in the field to watch for some early Aurigid meteors. This night I wanted to try out a new observation site, situated on a hill about 20 minutes driving from home. I hoped that this place would provide a better horizon, and maybe a slightly better limiting magnitude, than my usual observation site.
August 26: 20:45 – 21:45
I started observations 20:45 UT. This is too early for the Aurigids to reach a useful radiant elevation, but I decided to look for Antihelion meteors, and late Kappa Cygnids, while waiting for the Aurigids. The observation site lived up to my expectations, with Lm quickly dropping below 6,0, and with good horizon in all directions. Sporadic activity started out quite good, with 11 meteors the first hour. The first hour was highlighted with a 1 Magnitude, red, slow moving Kappa Cygnid, starting in Andromeda and ending up in Aries. This meteor was also captured on camera, making a nice composition with the Pegasus square and the Andromeda galaxy!
Teff: 1.00 – Lm: 6.06 – F: 1.00 – RA: 345 – Dec: +55
Spo: 0, 2(2), 3(2), 4(2), 5(3), 6 – Total 11 meteors.
K-Cyg: 1 – Total 1 meteor.
Ant: No meteors
August 26: 21:45 – 22:50 – 2-minute break.
In the next hour activity seemed a little lower, until 22:44 when 4 sporadic meteors appeared within a minute! This was a much-needed wake up call, in a somewhat quiet hour of meteor observing. These meteors sent the sporadic hourly rate to 10, and on top of this, the first 5 magnitude Antihelion was also seen. There were no bright meteors for my camera this hour, all meteors being between magnitude +2 and +5.
Teff: 1.050 – Lm: 6.24 – F: 1.00 – RA: 345 – Dec: +55
Spo: 2(3), 3(2), 4(3), 5(2) – Total 10 meteors.
K-Cyg: No meteors.
Ant: 5 – Total 1 meteor.
August 26: 23:00 – 00:00
The time had now come for Aurigid observations, and I was excited to see if I could detect any activity from this source. After 12 minutes a nice 1 magnitude, white, medium speed sporadic meteor appeared in Aries, moving into Pisces, leaving a short smoke train in the sky. And best of all, just below the center of my camera field! I had to wait in 52 minutes for the first Aurigid, a 3 magnitude meteor in Andromeda. This was right in the center of my field of view, so shower association is very certain. 3 minutes later a nice 3 magnitude Antihelion meteor slowly moved all the way from Pegasus, through Aries and Triangulum. It is always a pleasure to watch these slow moving, often long and characteristic meteors, that stands well out from most of the sporadic meteors seen. The sporadic activity continued to decline, with 7 meteors observed this hour, all between magnitude +1 and +6.
Teff: 1.00 – Lm: 6.30 – F: 1.00 – RA: 0.00 – Dec: +55
Spo: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5(2), 6 – Total 7 meteors
Ant: 3 – Total 1 meteor.
Aur: 3 – Total 1 meteor.
Nu Eri: No Meteors.
August 27: 00:00 – 01:05 – 5-minute break
The last hour of observations activity was on the rise again, with 10 sporadic meteors seen, all between magnitude +3 and +6. Antihelion activity was also good, with 2 long, slow moving meteors of magnitude +2 and +3. Also this hour Aurigid activity was detectable. Only 1 minute before the end of the watch, a 4 magnitude Aurigid appeared between Andromeda and Cassiopeia, right in the center of my field of view. The “meteor of the hour” was undoubtfully a long, magnitude 1, medium speed Nu Eridanid meteor at 00:28, streaking up from the eastern horizon, from Aries and into Andromeda. This meteor was also photographed, so shower association is very certain.
Teff: 1.00 – Lm: 6.23 – F: 1.00 – RA: 0.00 – Dec: +55
Spo: 3(2), 4(3), 5(3), 6(2) – Total 10 meteors.
Ant: 2, 3 – Total 2 meteors.
Aur: 4 – Total 1 meteor.
Nu Eri: 1 – Total 1 meteor.
I am very satisfied to have been able to detect early activity from the Aurigids, and observed and photographed my first Nu Eridanid meteor. Also the new observation site proved very good, offering a better limiting magnitude and better horizon than from home. I cross my fingers for more clear nights, and hopes to follow Aurigid activity in the nights around expected maximum on September 1.