Thursday, December 17, 2009

Geminids 2009 report – SPACE Scientific team, Jim Corbett Park, UP, India

Geminids 2009 were predicted to yield a good ZHR of more than 100 at 05:10 UT on 14th Dec. Absence of moon during the shower was a bonus for meteor observers. SPACE scientific team comprising of the following members made their plans to observe and photograph Geminids from Jim Corbett National Park, UP, one of the dark sites available within 300 kms of Delhi:

Sachin Bhamba
C B Devgun
Surender Solanki
Akhil Chopra

Experiments planned:

Naked eye observation of the meteor shower
Photography of the shower
Estimating limiting magnitude for project dark skies


Canon 450D with 18mm f 3.5 lens
Images plus software to control the camera
GPS for time keeping and location

Naked eye observation team:

Sachin Bahmba (SB), C B Devgun (CB) and Akhil Chopra (AC)

Time of observation:
14th Dec. 2009
00:15 IST – 03:00 IST (UT)

Observation was done in time spans of 1 hour each with last observation being of 45 mins duration

Time Observer Shower Random Fireball
00:15 IST – 01:15 IST SB 84 3 2
00:15 IST – 01:15 IST AC 45 5 3
01:15 IST – 02:15 IST SB 131 5 1
01:15 IST – 02:15 IST AC 90 2 0
02:15 IST – 03:00 IST SB 47 2 1
02:15 IST – 02:45 IST AC 26 1 1

C B Devgun was looking in the west direction and Sachin Bahmba was recording the number on his behalf in the log sheet.

During the time period of 01:15 IST – 02:15 IST maximum number of meteors were logged and the count dropped in next hour and followed by more appreciable drop in the time period of 30 mins during 02:15 IST – 03:00 IST.

Estimation of the limiting magnitude:

At the observation site at “wild trail” resort near Girjia temple, the north and south horizon was having light pollution but the east and west horizons were having less light pollution and Zenith was clear of any light pollution. Magnitude estimate was done with pipe method used in the project dark skies and it was found to be around 5.5 mags. Later on while doing astrophotograhy at Bijrani forest rest house inside the jungle the estimate was 6.0. Another tube of less length (Toilet paper roll cardboard tube) was used to check the accuracy of the method. Details will follow in another report on the method in project dark skies.

Photography of the shower:

The shower was photographed for the same duration as that of the shower and 3-4 frames got the meteors, images will be uploaded in blog. Picasa gallery and the repository of SPACE soon.

SPACE team observed the shower and it seems that the peak for the observation happened at 19:45 UT on 13th Dec. 2009

Sachin saw more than one meteor belonging to shower in same field of view within seconds. Akhil saw a fireball which broke into fragments and made a “s” shape in the sky.

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