Abstract: A meteor outburst from a previously unknown shower now called the gamma Crucids (code GCR and IAU shower number 1047) was recorded by Southern hemisphere CAMS networks on 2021 February 13 – 15.

 

In mid February, an unexpected meteor shower was detected in observations of the Southern hemisphere low-light video camera networks CAMS Australia (M. Towner), CAMS Chile (S. Heathcote and E. Jehin), and CAMS New Zealand (J. Baggaley). See the meteor shower radiant maps posted at http://cams.seti.org/FDL/ and select the dates in the calendar for 2021 February 13 – 15 (Jenniskens, 2021). The meteors radiate from a point near the constellation the Southern Cross and the previously unknown shower has been given the name gamma Crucids (GCR, IAU#1047).

The meteors radiated from a geocentric radiant at R.A. = 192.6 ± 3.3, Decl. = –56.0 ± 1.6 deg, with a velocity of Vg = 55.8 ± 1.7 km/s. The first shower meteors were triangulated on 2021 February 11 at 1h UTC (322.7 degrees solar longitude, Equinox J2000). Activity peaked on February 14. The most recently analyzed meteor occurred on 2021 February 15 at 9h UTC (326.6 deg). 40 meteors give the median orbital elements and 1-sigma dispersions of:

  • a ~ 17 AU,
  • q = 0.930 ± 0.023 AU;
  • e = 0.946 ± 0.174;
  • i = 100.8 ± 2.7 deg;
  • ω = 28.5 ± 6.1 deg;
  • Ω = 144.21 ± 0.99 deg

The meteoroid stream belongs to an unknown Halley-type comet in a steeply inclined orbit to the ecliptic plane.

Figure 1 –  The circle marks the concentration of radiants of the gamma Crucid outburst in the recent CAMS radiant maps. Image courtesy of Ivan Sergei (Belarus).

Jenniskens P., 2021. Gamma Crucid meteors 2021. CBET 9432. Ed. D. W. E. Green, Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (issued Feb. 15, 2021).