(meteorobs) 2015 Taurid obs from north Florida - NICE!

Paul Jones jonesp0854 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 6 07:25:41 EST 2015

Hi again all,
     I decided to take advantage of not having to go into work today and
journeyed out to the Hastings "potato field" last night for what evolved
into a pretty doggone eventful marathon Taurid meteor watch
indeed.  Persistent coastal clouds had spoiled the last couple of evenings
at home for me, so I decided to risk the "fog factor" and go inland to get
away from them.  Turned out the entire night was cloud-free pretty much

     Upon arrival, I was greeted by pitch black skies ablaze with Milky Way
spilling over its boundaries all across the sky!  I thought to myself: "Now
that's what I'm talkin about!" There is just no substitute for rural skies
far from city light pollution.  The difference is truly like (no pun
intended) night and day.

     Somehow I managed three full hours of observing out there (9:10 p.m. -
1210 a. m.) and pulled in a total of 50 meteors with 31 of them being from
one of the three Taurid radiant centers.  I finally bagged my first Taurid
fireball of the campaign as well - a lovely blue-white, -5 south Taurid
(STA) at 11:36 p. m. low in the SW that lit up the ground fog with a
ghostly glow - stunning!

     In addition to the fireball, I also had a vivid yellow -2 STA and a
long pathed, -1 STA early in the watch.  Several other STAs were zero
magnitude.  I also saw a gorgeous, glittery golden +2 north Taurid (NTA)
streak due east from the radiant during the second hour and an earthgrazing
+1 sporadic cover over half the sky just moments before seeing the -5 STA!
Up until seeing the fireball, this showy meteor would have been my "meteor
of the watch"  for its stunning orange color and long slow path across the
starry sky west to east - AMAZING!

Here's the data:

Nov. 6/7, 2015 Observer: Paul Jones, Location: 18 miles southwest of St.
Augustine, Florida (5 miles east of Hastings, Florida)

9:10 - 10:10 p.m. EST (0210 - 0310 UT), Teff: 1.0 hour, LM: 6.8. Sky
Condition: clear, Facing: due east

4 STA: -1, 0, +3, +4
3 NTA:+3 (2), +4
6 SPO: +3 (3), +4 (2), +5
13 total meteors

10:10 - 11:10 p.m. EST (0310 - 0410 UT) Teff: 1.0 hour, LM: variable (6.2 -
6.8), Sky condition: 25% fog interference, Facing: due east

5 STA: -2, 0 (2), +2, +4
3 NTA: +2, +3 (2)
5 SPO: +2, +3, +4 (2)
13 total meteors

11:10 p.m. - 12:10 a.m. EST (0410 - 0510 UT) Teff: 1.0 hour, LM: 6.8. Sky
Condition: clear, Facing: due east

8 STA: -5, 0 (2), +1, +2, +3, +4 (2)
7 NTA: +1, +2, +3 (2), +4 (2), +5
1 CTA: +3
8 SPO: +1, +2, +3 (3), +4 (2), +5
24 total meteors

It appeared to me that the brighter Taurids definitely came from the STA
radiant last night vice the NTA.  A majority of the brighter STAs usually
tracked to the northwest during the entire watch with the exception of the
-5 which appeared now in the SW sky.

The activity level jumped up quite a bit during that third hour and I hated
to have to leave a dark, star-filled sky, but I was too exhausted to
continue.  In addition to all the meteor highlights, I enjoyed seeing the
wispy glow of the gegenschein for most of the watch, as I had not seen that
in quite awhile.  I even was able to make out parts of the zodiacal band
stretching westward from the "bulge" of the gegenschein.  Together with the
Milky Way, the two features traced out a huge, distinct "V" shaped pattern
across the sky!  You gotta love those dark, rural skies!!!!

I'll try again tonight, looks like the Taurids still have some firepower
left in them...

Clear skies to all, Paul J in north Florida
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