FunCube Dongle Pro Plus

April Meteors

The main shower in April is the Lyrids, but as the table below shows there are other showers present as well.

Major Activity:

Radiant Duration Maximum
Lyrids (LYR) April 16-25 Apr. 22

Minor Activity:

Radiant Duration Maximum
Tau Draconids March 13-April 17 Mar. 31-Apr. 2
Librids March 11-May 5 Apr. 17/18
Delta Pavonids March 21-April 8 Apr. 5/6
Pi Puppids (PPU) April 18-25 Apr. 23/24
April Ursids March 18-May 9 Apr. 19/20
Alpha Virginids March 10-May 6 Apr. 7-18
April Virginids April 1-16 Apr. 7/8
Gamma Virginids April 5-21 Apr. 14/15

Daylight Activity:

Radiant Duration Maximum
April Piscids April 8-29 Apr. 20/21

The total meteor activity detected for April was 1790.

The average daily rate was 60 and the average hourly rate 2.5

The max hrly rate was 11  during the hours of 9 & 11 on 30th April

The max dly rate was 93 on 23rd April with hourly counts of 10 during the hours of 4, 9 & 11.

Maximum activity for the Lyrids occurred during daylight as did a lot of this months activity.

The daily rate graph and hourly rate graph are listed below, the Lyrid max is marked on both, the daily rate for 2017 is also included for comparison, it would appear more meteors were detected this year. The month of May brings the Eta Aquarids over the weekend of the 5th/6th, which will be competing with a bright waning Gibbous moon.

Pete H

 

March Meteors

March is not blessed with a conspicuous meteor shower but there are plenty of minor showers overlapping.

Minor Activity

Radiant Duration Maximum
Eta Draconids March 22-April 8 Mar. 29-31
Beta Leonids February 14-April 25 Mar. 19-21
Rho Leonids February 13-March 13 Mar. 1-4
Leonids-Ursids March 18-April 7 Mar. 10/11
Delta Mensids March 14-21 Mar. 18/19
Gamma Normids (GNO) March 11-21 Mar. 16/17
Eta Virginids February 24-March 27 Mar. 18/19
Pi Virginids February 13-April 8 Mar. 3-9
Theta Virginids March 10-April 21 Mar. 20/21

Daylight Activity

Radiant Duration Maximum
March Aquarids February ??-April ?? Mar. 15-18

The total meteor activity recorded for the month using the fundongle pro+ on the Graves frequency was 1116, there was a daily average of 36 with an hourly average of 1.5 The maximum daily count was 60 recorded on 19th March as was the max hourly count of 13.

This peak activity coincided with the peak activity of the Beta leonids, delta mensids and eta Virginids. Other minor peaks can be identified using table above.

A post on the UK Radio Meteor discussion group on the 19th flagged up a long duration event picked up by an observer at Emsworth in Hampshire., I didn’t find any visual reports of this daytime event.

Checking my logs this event had also been recorded at Barton, although spread across two screens.

The event was also recorded in Lincoln ( note the vertical, rather than horizontal waterfall screen)

Also recorded in Loughboro’

April is now with us and as well as several minor showers there is the Lyrid shower to look forward to over the 21/22 of the month , peak 11:00 – 22:00 BST on 22nd April. Moon in its first quarter should not cause any problems and for Lunar observers the Lunar X and V are at peak visibility around 21:40 BST on sun22 April.

 

clear skies

 

Pete H

February Meteors.

February is not noted for its meteor showers, only a handful of minor showers and some daytime showers.

Minor Activity

Radiant Duration Maximum
Aurigids January 31-February 23 Feb. 5-10
Alpha Centaurids (ACE) February 2-25 Feb. 8/9
Beta Centaurids February 2-25 Feb. 8/9
Delta Leonids (DLE) February 5-March 19 Feb. 22/23
Sigma Leonids February 9-March 13 Feb. 25/26

Daylight Activity

Radiant Duration Maximum
Capricornids-Sagittariids January 13-February 28 Jan. 30-Feb. 3
Chi Capricornids January 29-February 28 Feb. 13/14

The radar reflections using Graves, gave a total count of 1140 meteors, with an average daily count of 41 and average hourly count of 2 (1.7), the max hourly count observed was 7 and max daily count 62. The contributions to activity from the Centaurids , Leonids and Capricornids are discernible on the charts below. March is another month of no notable shower, but lots of minor showers.

Clear Skies

Pete H

 


January Meteors.

The main meteor activity this month around the 3rd/4th of January with the Quadrantids peaking in the early hours of the 4th Jan. Graves decided to go off line between 09:00 and 15:00 on the 3rd Jan. ( see red block on hourly plot).

The average hourly rate during the month was 2.2, with an average daily rate of 52.3. The variations during the month are due to the combinations of minor showers during the month, these are listed in table below.

I omitted the total count for 2017 in my new year post, this was 16,727with an average daily count of 46. It will be interesting to see what Andy’s magnetic collector picks up over the year.

 

Radiant Duration Maximum
Zeta Aurigids December 11-January 21 Dec. 31/Jan. 1
January Boötids January 9-18 Jan. 16-18
Delta Cancrids (DCA) December 14-February 14 Jan. 17
Canids January 13-30 Jan. 24/25
Eta Carinids January 14-27 Jan. 21/22
Eta Craterids January 11-22 Jan. 16/17
January Draconids January 10-24 Jan. 13-16
Rho Geminids December 28-January 28 Jan. 8/9
Alpha Hydrids January 15-30 Jan. 20/21
Alpha Leonids January 13-February 13 Jan. 24-31
Gamma Velids January 1-17 Jan. 5-8

 

Barton All Sky & Meteor Observatory (BASMO)

The Barton All Sky & Meteor Observatory (BASMO) is now operational with the addition of the All Sky camera and realignment of aerial which has started to work loose in mount. The radio section detects the reflections of the Graves Radar signal (near |Dijon) 143.05 MHz detected using the Yagi aerial( az 140 deg , inclination 20 deg) connected to a Fundongle pro+  and signal processed using SpectrumLab on laptop. The Allsky camera runs using Ispy and is set to record video if motion detected in the selected sectors. Unfortunately the All sky camera will not show the meteors detected by the radar ( usually over southern England/ channel/ France)

Images below as follows:

  1. BASMO aerial and Allsky camera
  2. BASMO attachment of camera using wickes bracket suggested by Ed
  3. BASMO Meteor detection top, allsky camera feed bottom.
  4. Radar meteor detection, long duration trace as meteor “burns” up leaving ionised trail
  5. Radar meteor detection showing Doppler shift of approx. 100Hz as meteor approaching Graves signal slows in atmosphere.
  6. BASMO  All Sky camera pointers.
  7. All sky camera and rain drops, design fault ,Ed forgot to include wiper blades!

Click on the links to show videos .

  1. Video clip showing effect of raindrops, giving false movement as security light comes on. falsemove
  2. Video clip showing Plane overhead. Plane
  3. Video clip showing Meteor trace, probably a Draconid. Meteor

September meteors

Hi

below are the daily and hourly rates for meteors this month, average daily count of 48 and av hourly count of 2. No major showers,

Next month the Orionids peaking on 21st, the activity is already at 80+ counts with the Sextantids (daylight shower) and the Eta Cetids and October Cetids all active at the start of October.

 

Pete Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September Meteors: Minor Activity

Radiant Duration Maximum
Gamma Aquarids September 1-14 Sept. 7/8
Aries-Triangulids September 12 (?) Sept. 12
Alpha Aurigids (AUR) August 25-September 6 Sept. 1/2
Eta Draconids August 28-September 23 Sept. 12/13
Gamma Piscids August 26-October 22 Sept. 23/24
Southern Piscids (SPI) August 12-October 7 Sept. 11-20

Testing radio astronomy equipment to determine whether it is capable of detecting meteors

I have been experiencing difficulty detecting meteors at LRO.

Today, I obtained the following advice from my radio amateur friend, Bill Watson. As the advice is particularly useful, I felt I needed to pass it on:

If I can detect the GB3VHF Kent Beacon 144.430KHz at LRO then I will be able to pick up meteors from Graves’ radar. Simply put, if this signal can be detected by my meteor radio scatter detection equipment then I should be able to detect meteors adequately for meteor rate recording. The signal will not be large but it will be detectable. If I can not detect the Kent Beacon then I will not be able to detect meteors.

To detect the Kent beacon set receiver to 144.430KHz and CW mode. The beacon is always on (unlike meteor showers!) so if I can’t detect it then there is a problem with my set-up.

(Note Graves is on 143.049MHz and side band).

There is also something else that this test will do which is important – many radio receiver dongles are not accurate on their frequency and the user needs to determine an offset frequency. Once determined this can usually be entered into the software settings to correct the dongle’s frequency. If this has not been done then the frequency on the computer will be inaccurate and meteors will not be detected because the dongle is not correctly set to Grave’s frequency.

To determine the offset simply find the Kent beacon around 144.430KHz – any difference in frequency shown on PC from 144.430KHz is the offset frequency needed.

At LRO (Lichfield Radio Observatory) we are using Moxon aerial (homemade by Bill), FunCube Dongle Pro Plus, Spectrum Lab software, for radio meteor scatter detection from Graves in France.

Andy