Gamma Velids

Although C. Hoffmeister seems to have determined the first radiant for this shower on January 12, 1938 (RA=132°, DECL=-47°), this stream was basically ignored until 1979, when members of the Western Australia Meteor Section (WAMS) began systematic observations of it.

During 1978-1979, the WAMS continuously observed the skies during December 19/20 to January 6/7. The first Gamma Velids were noted on January 1/2, and their numbers reached a ZHR of 8.24±0.81 on January 6/7. The mean radiant position was given as RA=125°, DECL=-49°. Based on 27 observed meteors, it was concluded that the average meteor magnitude was 2.89, while 3.7% of the meteors left trains.

Concerning colors, it was estimated that 10% of the meteors were orange, 10% were yellow, 20% were blue and 60% were white. More extensive observations during 1979-1980, revealed the Gamma Velid shower was active during January 1-17, with the mean radiant being RA=125°, DECL=-48°. A maximum of 7.06±1.36 was reached on January 3.

The Author has analyzed observations of the WAMS obtained during 1982-1986, and has concluded that a relatively flat maximum ranging from 5 to 9 meteors per hour occurs during January 5-8. It was also apparent that the rise to maximum was fairly rapid, while the later decline was much slower.

The Southern Hemisphere radar surveys which were conducted at Adelaide Observatory during 1961 and 1969, did not operate during the first half of January.