Meteor Activity Outlook for February 4-10, 2012

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During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Tuesday February 7th. At that time the moon will be located opposite the sun in the sky and will remain above the horizon all night long. This weekend the waxing gibbous moon will be in the sky most of the night. There will be a little time between moon set and the start of morning twilight when dark skies will allow good observing conditions. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near one for observers in the northern hemisphere and two for those south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near four as seen from mid-northern latitudes and eight from mid-southern latitudes. The actual rates will also depend on factors such as personal light and motion perception, local weather conditions, alertness and experience in watching meteor activity. Rates are reduced this week due to moonlight.

The radiant (the area of the sky where meteors appear to shoot from) positions and rates listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning February 4/5. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period. Most star atlases (available at science stores and planetariums) will provide maps with grid lines of the celestial coordinates so that you may find out exactly where these positions are located in the sky. A planisphere or computer planetarium program is also useful in showing the sky at any time of night on any date of the year. Activity from each radiant is best seen when it is positioned highest in the sky, either due north or south along the meridian, depending on your latitude. It must be remembered that meteor activity is rarely seen at the radiant position. Rather they shoot outwards from the radiant so it is best to center your field of view so that the radiant lies at the edge and not the center. Viewing there will allow you to easily trace the path of each meteor back to the radiant (if it is a shower member) or in another direction if it is a sporadic. Meteor activity is not seen from radiants that are located below the horizon. The positions below are listed in a west to east manner in order of right ascension (celestial longitude). The positions listed first are located further west therefore are accessible earlier in the night while those listed further down the list rise later in the night.

The table below presents a condensed version of the expected activity this week. Rates and positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning. Detailed descriptions of each shower will be continued next week when lunar interference will be less severe.

RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Standard Time North-South
Antihelions (ANT) 09:56 (149) +11 30 01:00 1 – 1 II
Alpha Centaurids (ACE) Feb 08 13:46 (206) -58 56 05:00 <1 – 1 II
Pi Hydrids (PIH) Feb 08 14:09 (212) -21 70 05:00 <1 – <1 IV



  • Kelli Rottenberk 5 years ago

    Large meteor spotting just after midnight February 5, 2012 in Waterford, MI. It was so large and bright! Amazing :)

    Reply to Kelli
  • kim klaczko 5 years ago

    While putting dogs in kennel about 6:50 a.m. February 6, I spotted a bright, basketball-sized object burning and trajecting across sky from West to East above a field 400 feet beyond my house. Bright blue/green with yellow. It fizzled out about 20 feet in air.

    Reply to kim
  • Debby Graham 5 years ago

    I was driving north around 6:50 a.m. and watched a bright green firey ball with a yellow tail shoot across the sky from west to east, then quickly burn out before reaching the ground. It was spectacular.

    Reply to Debby
  • Joshue Del Toro 5 years ago

    I am in California near Palm Springs, on the night of feb,4 I saw a bunch of pieces of fire falling from the sky really slow, while driving on the freeway, this was close to a freeway exit, I took that exit really fast with out taking my eyes of that falling pieces of fire, that night I mark that spot. The next day I went back & I found lot of meteorites pieces with a really lovely fresh crust. Thank for the info, now I need to find the video, there was like 5 cameras around these falling BABYS!!!

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  • Jean Harrison 5 years ago

    I spotted a large fireball in the Lindsay, Ontario area on Feb 6/12 at 6:42am. It started out as a very bright white light moving west to east that had a huge yellow/orange tail. Just before it dwindled out it had shooting sparks coming off of it. Very cool thing

    Reply to Jean
  • John Smith 5 years ago

    In virginia saw huge orange meteor fall from south to north. Burned out quickly

    Reply to John
  • Roberta Bruce 5 years ago

    Bright blue flash of light, like lightning over my car. Lite up whole driveway here in the North East Kingdom of Newport Vermont.

    Reply to Roberta
  • Roberta Bruce 5 years ago

    This happened here at 1030 P.M. in Newport Vermont.

    Reply to Roberta

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