Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ursid meteor splits 33 Capricornus

While looking for comet Finlay, which can be found next to Mars throughout this week, I bagged a meteor. Last night was the Ursid meteor shower, a light sprinkling offering 5-10 meteors per hour -- not the type of thing I stay out for on a cold night, but it was a clear night and good for star gazing.

Wide field:


Any meteor that crosses a star is suspect; that is, it could be a plane that blinks or a satellite that rotated its more reflective side toward Earth, but the star it passed through is listed in star charts as 33 Capricornus.

And of course, before after shots include the star:

I did find Comet Finlay, a feat that attests to my community's fairly dark sky. The following photo shows the faint green comet amid 9+ magnitude stars.

The 9th magnitude stars appear brighter than Finlay. Within the circle around Finlay, there's a 10th magnitude star and a few that are probably 11th magnitude (anything fainter is probably camera noise). Finlay is clearly brighter than 11th magnitude but very close in brightness (accounting for its being more diffuse) to the 10th magnitude star.


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