2007 Aurigid Shower

The Aurigids are a low activity shower that occasionally shows outbursts as we pass through dense debris streams (in 1935, 1986, and 1994). The source of the debris is Comet Kiess (C/1911 N1), a long period comet with a 2000 year orbit. It was predicted that in 2007 we would encounter a stream of debris left behind when the comet passed near the Earth in about 83 BCE. This prediction proved accurate.

2007 Aurigids Composite This is a composite image of 49 meteors collected between sunset on August 31 through sunrise on September 1. Nearly all the events happened between 04:40 and 05:40 MDT, so the radiant of the shower is quite obvious in the image (it is shown at its UT 11:30, or MDT 5:30 position).

Long string-like images above and below the radiant aren't meteors, but are stars or planets captured as they traveled across the sky over many hours. Capella is just above the radiant, Mars and Betelgeuse can be seen below. The bright streak below and to the right of center is the Moon. The white lines along the bottom are the inserted timecode data. In the composite, all the times overlap each other making them unreadable.

I've performed a radiant analysis using 29 events. The apparent radiant was at RA 92.4° ± 1.4°, decl 38.4° ± 1.3°. See the scatter plot below.

Fireball videos:

See a streaming video (1.5 MB) of the entire shower.

The chart below plots the distribution of meteors over the last 3.5 hours of the night from Cloudbait Observatory. The data is binned into 5-minute intervals and normalized to an hourly rate. The approximate peak of activity occurs at UT 11:25, very near the predicted time of 11:36, and is approximately 30 minutes long. The peak may appear artificially narrow since it extends into daylight.

2007 Aurigid Distribution

This chart below plots the distribution over the same time range for all three reporting cameras. The Cloudbait and Guffey cameras are only about 5 km apart, so they largely recorded the same part of the sky. The Guffey camera is less sensitive, which is why fewer events were recorded. The Montrose camera is located 209 km west of Cloudbait, so these cameras caught mostly different meteors, although there is some overlap. All three cameras show two peaks of activity, at UT 11:15-11:20 and 11:30-11:35.

2007 Aurigid Distribution

The graph below plots the radiants of 29 of the meteors with the longest trails against each other. This gives an indication of the overall size and location of the apparent radiant, RA 92.4° ± 1.4°, decl 38.4° ± 1.3° (geocentric radiant RA 92.7°, decl 38.5°). Meteors included in the radiant calculation can be extended to within 5° of the initial estimated radiant and have path lengths of at least 3°. The error analysis is based on event quality weights that are a function of the meteor path length and the location in the image of the beginning and ending points.

2007 Aurigid Radiant

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© Copyright 2007, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.