On Monday morning 2021 January 18, at 11:50 Universal Time, an AMS camera system owned by the University of Arizona, operating in central San Diego County, California, captured a swam of 7 bright meteors occurring within 3 seconds of one another. This camera system consists of six Sony Starvis (starlight) IMX290 project cameras, 5 which are pointed 60 degrees apart at 40 degrees altitude, and one pointed at the zenith. Three of the cameras captured this activity. The camera pointing west captured 5 of these meteors. The camera pointed SSW captured 3 of these meteors, all which were also caught on adjacent cameras. The camera pointed ESE caught 2 of these meteors, which also appeared on the camera pointed SSW. All these meteors were of at least first magnitude and easily visible in the video recordings.

Video credit : Vishnu Reddy/University of Arizona

Video credit : Vishnu Reddy/University of Arizona

Video credit : Vishnu Reddy/University of Arizona

Attempts were made to determine a source. Five of the seven meteor paths  intersected in an area just east of the third magnitude star known as  Zubenelgenubi (alpha Librae). Four of the meteors also intersected in an  area just south of the well-known double star Acrab (beta Scorpii). Lastly, four of the meteors also intersected near the third magnitude star pi Hydrae at 213 -24.

The radiant lists published by the IMO and the IAU MDC showed nothing matching any of the above given positions. Calculating the positions of  non-conventional sources such as the apex radiants revealed that the  southern apex source lies close to pi Hydrae on this date. This is not a source in the sense of a common orbit related to an object but rather a sum of meteoroids on similar near parabolic orbits with high  inclination. This might explain the different radiant positions.

However, the close sequence of the observed meteors may suggest that the meteors are fragments of a meteoroid which recently fragmented prior to encountering the Earth, resulting in the swarm that was caught by these cameras.



  • Hello, Robert!
    Thank you for your message!
    At the time interval 10:34-11:34 UT, I heard 108 meteor signals. At the interval 06:26-07:26 UT, I heard 67 meteor signals. And on the interval 14:15-15:15 UT I heard 35 meteor signals on the frequency 88.6 MHz. Thus, the increase in the level of meteors by almost 2 times is an established fact. According to the CAMS video network, there is a concentration of known radiant pi Hydrids on this date. There is no noticeable concentration of radiant sporadic meteors. The CMOR radar data also shows no appreciable concentration of radians in the indicated area of the sky. Most likely you are right and it was a very short-lived occurrence of a group of meteoroids, for example, from a recently passed meteoroid, dropped out as a meteorite.

    Best regards, Ivan

    Reply to Ivan Sergey

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