16
Jan
2012

2012 Meteor Shower List

The 2012 Meteor Shower List is presented in four separate parts. The showers are broken down by intensity with major, minor, variable, and weak showers being separated into their own groups. The general public and news agencies are encouraged to only use the list of major showers as they are the most well known and provide the most activity on a year to year basis. The other showers rarely surpass ten meteors per hour at maximum and are difficult to observe by the general public.


2012 Major Meteor Showers (Class I)

Shower Activity Period Maximum Radiant Velocity r Max. Time Moon
Date S. L. R.A. Dec. km/s ZHR
Quadrantids (QUA) Jan 01-Jan 10 Jan 04 283.0° 15:18 +49.5° 42.2 2.1 120 0500 10
Lyrids (LYR) Apr 16-Apr 25 Apr 22 032.4° 18:08 +32.9° 48.4 2.1 18 0400 01
Eta Aquarids (ETA) Apr 28-May 21 May 07 046.8° 22:36 -00.6° 66.9 2.4 60 0400 15
Delta Aquarids (SDA) Jul 21-Aug 23 Jul 29 126.9° 22:42 -16.4° 42.0 3.2 20 0300 10
Perseids (PER) Jul 13-Aug 26 Aug 12 140.0° 03:12 +57.6° 60.5 2.6 100 0400 24
Orionids (ORI) Oct 04-Nov 14 Oct 22 208.9° 06:24 +15.5° 67.3 2.5 23 0500 07
Leonids (LEO) Nov 07-Nov 28 Nov 18 236° 10:16 +21.6° 70.6 2.5 15 0500 05
Geminids (GEM) Dec 04-Dec 16 Dec 13 261°5 07:33 +32.2° 35.0 2.6 120 0100 00
Ursids (URS) Dec 17-Dec 23 Dec 22 270°7 14:30 +74.8° 32.6 3.0 10 0500 09

Information and Table Template Courtesy the International Meteor Organization.

The meteor showers listed above are the easiest to observe and provide the most activity. Particular attention should be noted to the time and moonlight conditions. All these showers are best seen after midnight. Some are not even visible until after midnight. Showers that peak with the moon’s age between 10 and 20 days will be affected by moonlight and difficult to observe this year. While the time each shower is best seen remains much the same year after year, the moonlight conditions change considerably from one year to the next. We will post upcoming details of each major shower that is free from moonlight well in advance of their peak activity.


2012 Minor Meteor Showers (Class II)

Shower Activity Period Maximum Radiant Velocity r Max. Time Moon
Date S. L. R.A. Dec. km/s ZHR
Antihelion Source (ANT) Dec 11-Sep 06 - - - - 30.0 3.0 3 0100 -
Alpha Centaurids (ACE) Jan 28-Feb 21 Feb 08 319°2 14:00 -59.0° 56.0 2.0 5 0500 15
Eta Lyrids (ELY) May 06-May 13 May 10 050° 19:24 +43.2° 43.4 3.0 3 0400 18
Alpha Capricornids (CAP) Jul 11-Aug 10 Jul 29 125° 20:20 -10.2° 24.9 2.5 4 0100 10
Kappa Cygnids (KCG) Aug 06-Aug 16 Aug 13 141° 19:04 +51° 22.7 3.0 3 2300 25
Aurigids (AUR) Aug 29-Sep 04 Aug 31 158°6 06:02 +39.3° 66.7 2.6 7 0400 14
September Epsilon Perseids (SPE) Sep 05-Sep 13 Sep 09 167° 03:12 +40.5° 66.4 2.9 5 0500 22
Southern Taurids (STA) Sep 07-Nov 19 Oct 09 197° 02:06 +08.7° 28.9 2.3 5 0200 22
Epsilon Geminids (EGE) Oct 16-Oct 27 Oct 19 207° 06:47 +28.2° 70.4 3.0 2 0500 04
Leonis Minorids (LMI) Oct 16-Oct 27 Oct 23 210° 10:43 +36.4° 59.8 2.7 2 0500 08
Northern Taurids (NTA) Oct 19-Dec 10 Nov 13 231° 03:58 +22.7° 28.5 2.3 5 0000 00
November Orionids (NOO) Nov 12-Dec 06 Nov 30 248° 06:04 +15.2° 44.1 2.3 3 0400 16
Sigma Hydrids (HYD) Nov 26-Dec 20 Dec 06 254° 08:12 +02.8° 60.8 3.0 3 0300 21
Puppid/Velids (PUP) Dec 01-Dec 15 Dec 07 255° 08:12 -45° 40 2.9 10 0400 22
Monocerotids (MON) Dec 07-Dec 19 Dec 08 256° 06:37 +08.1° 40.9 3.0 2 0100 23
Coma Berenicids (COM) Dec 12-Dec 22 Dec 15 264° 11:38 +13.2° 64.7 3.0 5 0500 02
December Leonis Minorids (DLE) Dec 05-Feb 04 Dec 19 268° 10:46 +30.5° 64.0 3.0 5 0500 06

Information and Table Template Courtesy the International Meteor Organization.

The meteor showers listed above range from two to ten shower members per hour at maximum activity. These meteors can be detected by experienced observers but novice observers and the general public will have difficultly distinguishing these meteors from the major showers or sporadic (random) meteors.


2012 Variable Meteor Showers (Class III)

Shower Activity Period Maximum Radiant Velocity r Max. Time Moon
Date S. L. R.A. Dec. km/s ZHR
Pi Puppids (PPU) Apr 15-Apr 28 Apr 23 033.5° 07:20 -45.0° 18 2.0 var 1900 02
June Bootids (JBO) Jun 22- Jul 02 Jun 27 095.7° 14:56 +48° 18 2.2 var 2100 08
Draconids (GIA) Oct 06-Oct 10 Oct 08 195.5° 17:28 +56° 19 2.6 var 1800 21
Alpha Monocerotids (AMO) Nov 15-Nov 25 Nov 21 239°32 07:48 +01° 65 2.4 var 0300 08
Dec Phoenicids (PHO) Nov 28-Dec 09 Dec 06 254°25 01:12 -53° 18 2.8 var 2000 21

Information and Table Template Courtesy the International Meteor Organization.


The meteor showers listed above produce strong activity on rare occasions. Most of the time only a few scattered remnants of these showers are observed with rates of one shower member per night. Note that most of these showers are best seen during the evening hours, a situation quite opposite most meteor showers.


2012 Weak Meteor Showers (Class IV)

Shower Activity Period Maximum Radiant Velocity Max. Time Moon
Date S. L. R.A. Dec. km/s ZHR
Alpha Hydrids (AHY) Dec 30-Jan 08 Jan 01 280.0° 08:24 -07.9° 45.0 <2 0200 07
January Leonids (JLE) Dec 31-Jan 05 Jan 02 281.0° 09:46 +24.4° 53.9 <2 0300 08
Xi Corona Borealids (XCB) Jan 10-Jan 15 Jan 15 295.0° 16:33 +29.2° 50.1 <2 0500 20
South Delta Cancrids (SCC) Jan 14-Jan 18 Jan 18 298.0° 08:46 +10.6° 28.7 <2 0100 23
Gamma Ursae Minorids (GUM) Jan 16-Jan 27 Jan 21 301.0° 15:16 +66.8° 29.6 <2 0500 26
Pi Hydrids (PIH) Feb 04-Feb 08 Feb 08 319.0° 14:21 -26.2° 69.7 <2 0500 15
Beta Herculids (BHE) Feb 10-Feb 14 Feb 13 324.0° 16:24 +23.5° 55.5 <2 0500 20
Gamma Normids (GNO) Feb 25-Mar 22 Mar 13 353.0° 16:36 -51.0° 56.0 <2 0500 19
Zeta Serpentids (ZSE) Mar 23-Mar 27 Mar 24 004.0° 17:05 -04.1° 63.8 <2 0500 02
Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) Mar 27-Apr 13 Apr 05 016.0° 20:00 +40.2° 43.5 <2 0400 13
Nu Cygnids (NCY) Apr 18-May 07 Apr 19 030.0° 20:21 +39.4° 42.0 <2 0400 28
Sigma Leonids (SLE) Apr 18-Apr 25 Apr 20 031.0° 13:32 +04.7° 20.0 <2 0000 29
h-Virginids (HVI) Apr 22-Apr 25 Apr 22 032.0° 14:16 -11.4° 24.1 <2 0100 01
Delta Piscids (DPI) Jun 20-Jun 24 Jun 23 092.0° 00:44 +05.5° 71.0 <2 0400 04
f-Ophiucids (FOP) Jun 27-Jul 01 Jun 29 098.0° 17:46 +08.5° 21.0 <2 0000 10
July Pegasids (JPE) Jul 07-Jul 29 Jul 10 108.0° 23:08 +11.1° 68.1 <2 0400 20
c-Andromedids (CAN) Jul 04-Jul 16 Jul 12 110.0° 02:10 +48.4° 59.0 <2 0400 22
Mu Lyrids (MUL) Jul 15-Jul 20 Jul 18 116.0° 18:13 +39.4° 23.0 <2 0000 28
Alpha Triangulids (ATR) Jul 21-Jul 26 Jul 22 120.0° 01:56 +28.1° 71.0 <2 0400 03
Zeta Draconids (ZDR) Jul 24-Jul 28 Jul 24 122.0° 17:27 +67.8° 25.0 <2 2300 05
Gamma Draconids (GDR) Jul 23-Jul 30 Jul 28 125.0° 18:44 +50.7° 27.3 <2 0000 09
August Piscids (AUP) Aug 02-Aug 09 Aug 04 132.0° 00:30 +18.3° 66.0 <2 0400 16
Beta Perseids (BPE) Aug 04-Aug 15 Aug 07 135.0° 02:58 +40.7° 67.4 <2 0400 19
Eta Eridanids (ERI) Aug 04-Aug 18 Aug 09 137.0° 02:53 -11.0° 64.0 <2 0400 21
August Draconids (AUD) Aug 11-Aug 29 Aug 20 148.0° 18:22 +62.3° 23.3 <2 2100 03
Nu Eridanids (NUE) Sep 03-Sep 24 Sep 06 164.0° 04:27 -05.0° 67.7 <2 0500 19
September Lyncids (SLY) Sep 08-Sep 15 Sep 09 167.0° 07:21 +55.0° 61.0 <2 0500 22
September Iota Cassiopeiids (SIC) Sep 04-Sep 13 Sep 11 169.0° 02:27 +65.0° 50.0 <2 0500 24
October Camelopardalids (OCT) Oct 05-Oct 07 Oct 05 192.9° 11:13 +79.0° 44.5 <2 0500 18
October Epsilon Piscids (EPC) Oct 07-Oct 11 Oct 08 186.0° 00:05 +14.0° 19.2 <2 0000 21
October Ursa Majorids (OCU) Oct 12-Oct 19 Oct 15 202.0° 09:35 +63.3° 53.0 <2 0500 00
Zeta Taurids (ZTA) Oct 12-Oct 17 Oct 16 203.0° 05:19 +12.2° 67.7 <2 0500 01
Sigma Arietids (SSA) Oct 12-Oct 19 Oct 19 206.0° 03:23 +21.1° 45.5 <2 0300 04
October Ursa Minorids (OUI) Oct 16-Oct 28 Oct 24 211.0° 18:14 +74.3° 27.5 <2 1900 09
Eta Taurids (ETT) Oct 24-Nov 03 Oct 24 211.0° 03:42 +23.7° 47.0 <2 0300 09
Beta Cancrids (BCN) Oct 25-Nov 03 Oct 27 214.0° 07:22 -06.1° 65.1 <2 0500 12
Andromedids (AND) Nov 05-Nov 30 Nov 12 230.0° 01:31 +31.4° 18.8 <2 2200 28
Omicron Eridanids (OER) Nov 13-Nov 20 Nov 14 232.0° 04:01 -01.3° 27.1 <2 0100 01
December Kappa Draconids (KDR) Nov 30-Dec 06 Dec 03 251.0° 12:22 +71.5° 42.9 <2 0700 18
Psi Ursa Majorids (PSU) Nov 29-Dec 13 Dec 05 253.0° 11:13 +43.1° 61.1 <2 0600 20
Alpha Draconids (DAD) Dec 04-Dec 16 Dec 05 253.0° 13:34 +60.1° 43.8 <2 0800 20

Information and Table Template Courtesy the International Meteor Organization.


The meteor showers listed above rarely produce an average of more than two shower members per hour. In some cases these showers have been recently discovered by video means, being too weak for visual observers to pick out from the sporadic background. This list is being provided for the experienced observer in order to follow the activity of these weak showers. Good luck with your observations in 2012!


Explanation of the 2012 Meteor Shower Calendar

Shower: named for the constellation or closest star within a constellation where
the radiant is located at maximum activity.

Activity Period: the dates when the shower is active and the observer can expect activity
from this source.

Maximum: the date on which the maximum activity is expected to occur.

S.L.: the equivalent solar longitude of the date of maximum activity.
Solar longitude is measured in degrees (0-359) with 0 occurring at the exact moment
of the spring equinox, 90 at the summer solstice, 180 at the autumnal equinox, and
270 at the winter solstice. Scientists use this time measurement as it is independent
of the calendar.

Radiant: the area in the sky where shower meteors seem to appear from. This position
is given in right ascension (celestial longitude) and declination (celestial latitude).
The radiant must be near or above the horizon in order to witness activity from a particular
shower.

Velocity: the velocity at which shower meteors strike the Earth’s atmosphere.
The velocity depends on the angle meteoroids (meteors in space) intersect the Earth.
Meteoroids orbiting in the opposite direction of the Earth and striking the atmosphere
head-on are much faster than those orbiting in the same direction as the Earth. This
velocity is measured in kilometers per second.

r: The Population Index, An estimate of the ratio of the number of meteors
in subsequent magnitude classes. Simply stated: the lower the “r” value, the resulting
overall mean magnitude of each shower will be brighter. “r” usually ranges from 2.0 (bright)
to 3.5 (faint).

ZHR: Zenith Hourly Rate, the average maximum number of shower meteors visible
per hour if the radiant is located exactly overhead and the limiting magnitude equals +6.5 (a very dark sky).
Actual counts rarely reach this figure as the zenith angle of the radiant is usually less and
the limiting magnitude is usually lower than +6.5. ZHR is a useful tool when comparing the actual observed
rates between individual observers as it sets observing conditions for all to the same standards.

Time: this is the time of night when meteors from each shower are best seen. Quite often
the radiant will culminate after sunrise therefore the last dark hour before dawn will be listed.
Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) is used from March through October. These figures are also
highly dependent on the latitude of the observer. The time listed is most precise for mid-northern
latitudes.

Moon: the age of the moon in days where 0 is new, 7 is first quarter, 14 is full,
and 21 is last quarter. Meteor activity is best seen in the absence of moonlight so
showers reaching maximum activity when the moon is less than 10 days old or more than 25
are much more favorably observed than those situated closer to the full moon.

Class: A scale developed by Robert Lunsford to group meteor showers by their intensity:

Class I: the strongest annual showers with ZHR’s normally ten or better.

Class II: reliable minor showers with ZHR’s normally two to ten.

Class III: showers that do not provide annual activity. These showers are rarely active
yet have the potential to produce a major display on occasion.

Class IV: weak minor showers with ZHR’s rarely exceeding two. The study of these
showers is best left to experienced observers who use plotting and angular velocity
estimates to determine shower association. Observers with less experience are urged to
limit their shower associations to showers with a rating of I to III. These showers
are also good targets for video and photographic work.


About Robert Lunsford

Bob has been interested in the stars as far back as he can recall His first experience with meteors was a biggie, the 1966 Leonid shower. In 1980, a major awaking occurred. He received a sample copy of Meteor News. He was amazed to learn there was a group actually devoted strictly to meteor observing! He joined the group also started to view some of the minor showers list among the pages of Meteor News. Lastly, he was contracted by Springer Publishing in 2007 to write a book on observing meteors. The book is now available and hopefully will be a useful guide to all interested in the enjoyable field of meteor observing. More info about Robert Lunsford →
2 Responses
  1. Will the 2012 Weak (Class IV), the Meteor Showers should Nu Cygnids (ZCY), (NCY)?


    • Luolin, thanks for catching this error. The 3 letter abbreviation for the Nu Cygnids is indeed NCY. It has been corrected in the list.

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


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