Chi Cygnids

Chris Curtis
20 September 2015

Chi Cygnids

Chi Cygnids

A new meteor shower has just been (provisionally) recognised, and observations from UKMON cameras are playing their part in the discovery and confirmation.

We are busy checking through meteors captured on or around 15 September to see which seemed to come from part of the constellation of Cygnus. The Wilcot E and Horley cameras caught one at 20:22UT on 14 September. Seeing the same meteor from two places allows its orbit to be calculated and this one fits with the other observations of this meteor shower, helping to confirm it. Despite generally poor weather around 15 September, we are hoping that ukmon cameras will have caught other Chi Cygnid meteors.

It appears that this shower (like some others) has very low activity except every five years or so, when the orbit of the parent comet (as yet unidentified) sweeps through the inner solar system. Even in those years, it is a minor meteor shower, but the orbit and distribution of comet debris can now be studied.

The announcement of the Chi Cygnids gives all the technical details:


P. Jenniskens, SETI Institute, reports the detection of an outburst from
a new Jupiter-family comet shower, the chi Cygnids (given IAU number 757 and
abbreviation CCY). Martin Breukers and Carl Johannink first noticed five
nearly identical orbits in multi-station video observations of the CAMS
BeNeLux network in the observing interval Sept. 14d19h23m-15d03h35m UT.
Partial results from the CAMS California network add four meteors in the
observing interval Sept. 15d03h10m-15d12h45m. The nine meteors detected
appeared between Sept. 14d21h and 15d11h UT (solar longitude 171.54-172.08
deg). The geocentric radiant is at R.A. = 301.0 +/- 2.2 deg, Decl. =
+32.6 +/- 1.6 deg (equinox 2000.0), with velocity v_g = 15.1 +/- 0.9 km/s.
The median orbital elements are (N = 9): q = 0.949 +/- 0.003 AU, a = 2.75
+/- 0.40 AU, e = 0.655 +/- 0.041, i = 18.6 +/- 1.6 deg, Peri. = 209.9 +/-
1.9 deg, Node = 171.64 +/- 0.23 deg (equinox 2000.0).

Confirmation of the outburst was found in the near-real time CMOR radar
observations (P. Brown et al., University of Western Ontario), which are
posted at website URL The
24-hr averaged maps showed a small concentration of radiants at this
position during the observing period 15d 05h 15m - 15d 20h 15m UT.

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