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tau Herculid Meteors

Posted: 31 May 2022

Friday, 27 May 2022, was cloudy. Saturday, 28 May, was cloudy and windy. Sunday, 29 May, was clear, but hazy and very windy. Monday, 30 May, was clear but windy during the day.

I went to the observatory Monday evening to watch and hopefully photograph some meteors from the potential tau Herculids meteor storm from Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3. I did not use the 12" telescope.

Open: Monday, 30 May 2022, 1854 MST
Temperature: 76°F
Session: 1773
Conditions: Clear, breezy

SkyTracker Pro


SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV time signals.

I set up the D850 DSLR + 14mm UWA lens on the SkyTracker Pro (STP) on the observatory patio.


1913-2001 MST: Relaxed on the observatory patio bench. This was my location for observing any meteors from the "storm".


1927 MST: Sunset.

1955 MST: Calm now.

2013 MST: Polar aligned the STP.

2015-2245 MST: Began watching for Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 meteors from the bench. I took 15 images of the sky during the predicted peak period of the tau Herculid "storm", 2145-2215 MST.

2039 MST: Observed the first tau Herculid meteor. It was fairly bright but short.

2050-2051 MST: Observed four tau Herculid meteors. Two of them were very bright.

2106 MST: Rechecked the STP polar alignment; it was good.

2130 MST: SkyTracker Pro ON.

2139 MST: Saw a nice bright tau Herculid meteor. It had a long trail.

2140 MST: D850 DSLR ON. Began imaging the sky (f/3.5, 2 minutes, ISO 1600, White Balance 4550K, FL 14mm UWA).

2246 MST: STP OFF.

I saw about 20 tau Herculid meteors. Most were faint, but a few were fairly bright. All were fast with short trails. Definitely not a "storm", but it was still a nice meteor shower. I managed to capture two meteors. The "Big Dipper" is at the top of the images, with the star Arcturus near the middle of the images.

2200 MST


2203 MST


Both of these meteors show a burst at the end of their trails, clearly seen in the cropped images. The second image also has an airplane and a satellite in the image.

2254 MST: Took a Sky Quality reading and reported the result to Globe at Night.

Close: Monday, 30 May 2022, 2302 MST
Temperature: 66°F
Session Length: 4h 08m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 21.19

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