(meteorobs) Omicron Draconids and Alpha Lyrids, and a 50-year-old memory
Skywayinc at aol.com
Skywayinc at aol.com
Sat Jul 16 01:22:43 EDT 2005
Hi folks! --
I received the following e-mail (below) from David Levy. I'm wondering if
there is anybody on our meteorobs list that can answer some of his
questions. David attached a photograph with his message; I will be happy
to forward it to anyone who would like to see it if they e-mail me directly.
I should note that I will be on vacation for a week, beginning July 18. So
you e-mail me after that date, you probably won't get a reply from me
until after July 25 at the earliest.
-- joe rao
I am writing because of an interest I have in tracking down two very minor
showers, the Omicron Draconids and Alpha Lyrids. On the night of Tempel 1's
impact with Deep Impact, I recorded in one of my images a bright meteor
passing directly in front of the comet. This meteor happened to be
visually observed at the same time, through my 16-inch telescope by Michael
Terenzoni. The beginning and end points of the meteor are approximately
13 40 10.0 and -9 24 16
13 37 00.0 and -9 37 19
The meteor appeared on 2005 07 04 at 6:17 UT.
I believe that this meteor can be traced roughly back to the Alpha Lyrid
radiant, less likely to the Omicron Draconid one.
However I have two problems with this. On is that on that particular night
we noticed several faint meteors coming from the Omicron Draconid radiant,
even though it is a bit early for either shower. This unusual burst of
activity would indicate that the meteor could be an Omicron Draconid.
Secondly, the color is wrong for an Alpha Lyrid, whose meteors are supposed
to be whitish. Terenzoni reported this meteor as definitely greenish.
My questions are:
1) do you know of any reports of the colors of Omicron Draconids?
2) Could you possibly recheck my calculation-- maybe I was wrong in
pointing this back to the Lyrid radiant. Any insights you could provide
on these two showers would be appreciated.
3) Is it possible these two radiants-- whose times of activity are almost
the same and which are separated by only 15 degrees about --- are related
4) Do you know of any other northern sky showers that might have contributed?
I have a personal reason for wanting to track this down. My very first
observation of the night sky took place on July 5(UT), 1956, when I was
8. I was walking back to our cabin on a clear moonless night in Vermont
when I looked up and saw a meteor. My memory is of a short, 2nd magnitude
meteor passing through Lyra. I am almost certain that the meteor was an
Omicron Draconid, judging from its direction, shortness of trail, and
passage toward the east near Vega. I do not think it could have been an
Alpha Lyrid. A few years ago I revisited the campsite and tried to
recreate the observation. So even though it will be 50 years next July,
I still have a pretty good memory of it. It may even have sparked my
interest in astronomy.
I appreciate your help with this problem, and thank you for your time. I
may write about this in a future S&T column.
With all best wishes
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