Mike's Astro Photos
Dec.24 2009

Ursids Meteor Shower

by , under Comets & Meteors

The Ursid’s Meteor Shower peaked on Dec 22, 2009. I set my camera up and pointed it near the radiant and shot continuously for several hours on a couple of different nights. While I caught two sporadic meteors during the sessions, the picture below was the only official Ursid that I captured. I spent some time tracing the meteor back to the radiant and I’m 99% sure this is an Ursid meteor.  Here’s the zoom crop of the image. (Its long but faint, you should be able to see it at the top of the image if you click the picture below.)

Ursid Meteor - December 22nd, 2009

Ursid Meteor - December 22nd, 2009 (actually a satellite)

Here is the full image and an annotated version of the full image.

Ursid Meteor - December 22nd, 2009

Ursid Meteor - December 22nd, 2009

Ursid Meteor - Annotated

Ursid Meteor - Annotated

Finally, here is the image roughly plotted in a star chart. By drawing a line along the meteor and back to the radiant, we see the meteor originates at the Ursid’s radiant making it an Ursid meteor.

Ursid Meteor Shower Radiant

Ursid Meteor Shower Radiant

If its not too cloudy tonight, I think I will setup my cameras and see if I can catch Santa’s sleigh streaking across the sky.

Update 12/24/2009: I got some feedback on this picture and its looking like its a satellite trail and not a meteor. For its length if it were a meteor there would have to be more shape to it. Thanks Chris!
I also got some suggestions to check calsky.com & heavens-above.com websites as they offer satellite tracking databases that can be used to identify satellites. I checked calsky.com for the exact time from my latitude and longitude and found an entry that was almost at the same exact location as my picture:

Cosmos 1950
(19195 1988-046-A)
Mag= 4.9m Persei
az: 302.2° WNW h: 72.9° dist: 1547.2km
ra: 2:54.3 de: +46:54



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