Daylight Meteor March 7, 2016

This morning  Harold Gunn, a friend from church, told me that he saw a daylight meteor about 2 weeks ago.  I’ve never seen a daylight meteor, and I appreciate Harold letting me interview him for this blog and my Periscope broadcast “Let’s Talk Astronomy (3/20).”

I’ve seen a fair number of nighttime meteors.  Back in the ’80s and 90’s Barbara and I were active in the Meteor Watch program for the Greensboro Astronomy Club and the Astronomical League.  We spent many an evening at Hagan Stone Park counting meteors, recording their color and determining their origin.  Eventually I reached the age that being horizontal in the dark did not facilitate staying awake, so we stopped that phase of our observation.

On special occasions we would still go out onto the back deck early in the a.m. and watch the shooting stars.  One of the last was the Geminid meteor shower.  That particular show was predicted to be full of bolides.  It was about 3 in the morning and the air was very cold.  As I was leaning over to tuck in the blanket around Barbara’s feet, I saw the blanket light-up, Barbara said “Oh, look at that” so I turned around and it was gone  SBarbara said it was a bright fireball.  I didn’t see it.  The clouds moved in and that was the end of our observing..

Harold said that between 2 and 3 p.m.on Monday, March 7, we saw a light as bright as a welding torch cut across the sky.  He marked on my map where he was when he briefly saw the object.  The daylight meteor’s train lasted for the second or two that Harold was able to watch it.  Since he was driving at the time, his full attention was needed elsewhere.

GSO map
Map of a section of Greensboro, NC.  North is up.

My brief research indicates that the constellation Capricornus was near the southern horizon, the general direction from which the meteor came.  The Chi Capricornid daylight stream has been detectable from January 29 through February 28.  A March 7 incident would be unlikely.

Chi Capricornids are the only stream that correlates with Harold’s observation date, there are no other streams or showers I find listing anything close to March 7.  Harold’s daylight meteor may well have been a straggler from the at stream, but I don’t think it likely.

Have you seen a daytime meteor?

 

 

 


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