25
Oct
2012

Meteor Activity Outlook for October 27-November 2, 2012

During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Monday October 29th. At this time the moon is located opposite the sun and will remain above the horizon the entire night as seen from locations in mid-northern latitudes. This weekend will not be any better as the moon will not set until after the start of morning twilight. As the week progresses the waning gibbous moon will rise later in the evening hours but will still interfere with the more productive morning hours. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near two for observers located at mid-northern latitudes and one for observers in mid-southern latitudes. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near nine from the mid-northern hemisphere and six from the mid-southern hemisphere. 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 the intense 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 October 27/28. 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.

Due to the poor observing conditions present this week, the detailed listings of each active radiant will not be presented until conditions improve during the following week.

The table below presents a condensed version of the expected activity this week. Rates and positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning.

SHOWER DATE OF MAXIMUM ACTIVITY CELESTIAL POSITION ENTRY VELOCITY CULMINATION HOURLY RATE CLASS
RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Daylight Time North-South
Northern Taurids (NTA) Nov 13 03:04 (046) +20 29 02:00 1 – <1 II
Southern Taurids (STA) Oct 09 03:12 (048) +12 29 02:00 <1 – <1 II
Orionids (ORI) Oct 22 06:44 (101) +16 67 05:00 5 – 5 I
Epsilon Geminids (EGE) Oct 15 06:56 (110) +28 70 06:00 <1 – <1 II

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 →
6 Responses
  1. Saw a meteor (my first one) this evening at 11:02 pm over Lakeland Florida…very cool!


  2. Alejandra Dominguez says: October 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I seen a meteor last night or this morning so to speak at 12:46 over El Monte, California. It was a bright flash of light heading south, around Centaurus, between M83 and M68. (I used Google Maps and pointed towards the direction i seen the meteor)


  3. Hi i know I am a little early, but i am going to varadero Cuba and will be there during the week of Dec 13th and was wondering what is the best time to view the geminids shower and what direction should I be looking.

    Thanks!
    Greg


    • Greg and All,

      The Geminids can be seen all night long but the best time would be between 1-2am local time, when they will be shooting down in all directions from overhead. At that time it does not matter what direction you face. Earlier in the evening, east would be the best direction. Toward dawn, west would be the best direction to face. The best night would be December 13/14 with 12/13 and 14/15 also being good. After the 15th the rates fall tremendously.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  4. Jonathan bundschuh says: November 2, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Saw a meteor north of clearwater Florida at 9:51 pm tonight… Nov 2 2012… Was wondering what it was cuz it was huge… Like fire in the sky… Blue fire… ??? Any answers would be greatly appreciated… Thank you…


  5. I saw a fairly large ball of fire around 4am in Port Clinton, Ohio Nov. 27th 2012. it was headed East. i have seen shooting stars before but this one was the biggest and brightest yet. Anyone else see it?


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