A tricky night for the Quantrantids with stars only becoming visible at midnight due to a full moon and cloud cover. On checking the captures I found my first near fireball of 2015. Initial analysis indicates a Sporadic of a mag of around -3.9. One to check your files for. Video link. flic.kr/p/qorLgE
Hi, A few reports on twitter about this one. looks a cracker.
Didn't have anything southerly facing due to moonlight. If the radio counts are to be believed the "peak" was nicley clouded out here! had about two hours of cloud ~1.30 to 3.30UT. The rates were quite low before this although with clearer sky to morning there was still a decent haul.
Did not too badly on the spectroscopy front but things did not go entirely smoothly with a DSLR casualty and a PC problem. However can't complain got some good results to work with, it'll just take a bit longer than usual.
Is Bassingstoke where the event was first visible above? That would make sense given the direction we saw it going (right to left) from here in Wales.
I was outside trying to image Quadrantids with a couple of DSLRs when the fireball occurred. Although I didn't catch the fireball itself with a camera, I saw it and managed to capture a sequence of images (starting about from about 20 seconds after the event) of the train it left behind which was visible to the naked eye for over 5 minutes. I estimated the brightness to be -11 magnitude, perhaps even a bit brighter. It's been some years since I've seen one of this magnitude.
I've submitted a report to the AMS, and posted images + a link to a timelapse of the train + more info here:
First of all welcome to the forum and thanks for posting ... you have a very nice series of images of the persistant train. Allan, Alex and Martin have video data of the meteor itself and hence should be able to estimate the ground track, atmospheric trajectory, magnitude and orbit. Combining this data with your images of the persistant train will allow the speed and direction of upper atmospheric winds to be estimated.
As for the potential "fuel dump", it's difficult to say from just one image. One was imaged in December (see britastro.org/node/5886). Fuel dumps normally (though not always) occur within a few hours of launch - I've had a look at spaceflightnow.com/tracking/launchlog.html but there do not appear to have been any launches in the hours immediately preceeding your images.
FlightRadar24 used to have a "playback" function that showed commercial aircraft movements for the last seven days (http://www.flightradar24.com/53.91,-1.98/6) but I can't see it currently - sometimes they disable it temporarily after major aircrashes as lots of people access the site to track the last known positions of the latest disaster.
Thanks for the warm welcome and for the help investigating the possible fuel dump. The location was 51.988°, -4.278°, and the fist sign of the event in my images was at 01:19:00 UT. Going to have a look at FlightRadar24 now.
Hi Leo, that was a very nice animated sequence of the persistent train. That's something I cannot easily capture with the meteor cam so it was a pleasure to see. My initial analysis put the meteor somewhere North of Oxford. I could not guess where it first became visible, but as Martin said, he saw it from Stoke on Trent. Well done on the quick reactions to grab the action.
Thanks for providing details of your location and the time of the observations. I've used Stellarium to model the sky view from your location at the time of the observation. Using the position of the "mystery trail" against the now known azimuth / elevation of the background stars allows the az / ev of the trail to be estimated. Checking this against FlightRadar 24 strongly suggests that the mystery trail is a contrail from Air India flight 102 from New York JFK to Delhi. Attached file inclues relevant screen grabs.
I thought the Air India flight looked like it might be a bit too far South to be the cause of the mystery trail, but I could well be wrong!
Thank you both again.
PS. I'm gathering the parts needed for a couple of permanent fireball cams, and plan to start putting them (or at least one to begin with) together soon, so I'll probably be back for help/advice at some point since there are still a few things I'm not sure about.
There are a couple of points to bear in mind about the Air India flight. The observed elevation of around 45 degrees when the plane's altitude was around 10km means that the contrail was 10km away from you (horizontal distance). This means that the observed contrail was generated much earlier than 01:09 UT, I'd estimate around 00:56 UT when the plane passed approximately 25km to your South-South-East. A review of historical weather maps from that time indicate that weather systems were moving northwards. In order for the contrail to be carried by the wind from where it was generated to the azimuth where it was observed would require a wind speed at the plane's cruising altitude of around 110km/hr which doesn't seem too unreasonable.
This would also explain why there's no evidence of the plane (eg flashes from the collision avoidance beacons) in your images.
Time lapse videos of clouds are good at showing how clouds can appear and disappear in the same part of the sky (depending on temperature and humidity) and I suspect you've imaged the contrail performing the same sort of trick as the vapour trail temporarily condensed into a short lived cloud.
Good to hear that you're interested in setting up some cameras - you're in a great location in Wales. Lots of information over on the www.nemetode.org website but of course feel free to post whatever questions you may have on here.