7
Feb
2013

Meteor Activity Outlook for February 9-15, 2013

Radiants as Seen at 7pm

Radiants as Seen at Midnight

Radiants as Seen at 5am


During this period the moon reaches its new phase on Sunday February 10th. At this time the moon is located near the sun and is invisible at night. As the week progresses the waxing crescent moon will enter the evening sky but will not interfere with meteor observing. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near three as seen from the northern hemisphere and five as seen from south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near nine from the mid-northern hemisphere and eighteen 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.

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 9/10. 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 following showers are expected to be active this week:

The large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently centered at 10:16 (154) +09. This position lies in southwestern Leo, three degrees southeast of the first magnitude star Regulus (Alpha Leonis). These meteors may be seen all night long but the radiant is best placed near 0100 LST when it lies on the meridian and is highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near two per hour as seen from the northern hemisphere and one per hour from south of the equator. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Antihelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

The Alpha Centaurids (ACE) are active from a radiant located at 14:10 (212) -60. This position lies in southeastern Centaurus, very close to the position occupied by the first magnitude star Hadar (Beta Centauri). These meteors cannot be seen north of the northern tropical regions. They are best seen from mid-southern latitudes where the radiant lies high in the sky near 0500 local summer time. This shower peaked on February 8th so current rates would be near three per hour as seen from the southern hemisphere. At 56km/sec. the Alpha Centaurids would produce mostly swift meteors.

Activity from the Beta Herculids begins on Wednesday morning February 13th. This also happens to be the morning of maximum activity. This shower was discovered by Juergen Rendtel and Sirko Molau using data from the IMO video database. This shower is active from the 13th through the 19th. On the 13th the radiant is located at 16:27 (247) +24. This position is located in western Hercules, three degrees north of the third magnitude star Kornephoros (Beta Herculis). These meteors are best seen near during the last dark hour before dawn when the radiant lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Rates would mostly likely be less than one shower member per hour, no matter your location. At 56 km/sec. the Beta Herculids would produce mostly swift meteors.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately seven sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near two per hour. As seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45S), morning rates would be near fourteen per hour as seen from rural observing sites and four per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.

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 Standard Time North-South
Anthelions (ANT) - 10:16 (154) +09 30 01:00 2 – 1 II
Alpha Centaurids (ACE) Feb 08 14:10 (212) -60 56 04:00 <1 – 3 II
Beta Herculids (BHE) Feb 13 16:27 (247) +24 56 06:00 <1 – <1 IV

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 →
15 Responses
  1. just reported! was on phone with my dad and saw the thing, he said must have been a meteor, i decided to google meteor showers(because i promised him i would ) thats how i found this site. After reading a few stories it seems what i saw must be a bit of luck!! maybe it was a fireball, over central florida.


  2. Patricia Van Groningen says: February 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Saw a fireball in the eastern sky around 7:20 California time on 2/10/2013. I’ve seen shooting stars before but this one was so much bigger and I could even see the fire and fragments. Was looking on this site to find info if anyone else observed it.


    • I saw one too!!! it was a bright red like around 9 10 o’clock. I saw one last night also. this one was like a bright white.


    • Chelsea Beecher says: February 16, 2013 at 12:48 am

      I saw that also. I was on my way home from Winters, Ca when I saw it. Never seen anything like that before


    • I also saw the end of an apparently small fireball while driving home through Empire CA on hwy 132 heading directly east. Something caught my attention and I looked up to see an unusually slow “shooting star” with orange sparks that lasted a few second before going out. I noted that the object was travelling predominantly east with about a 20 degree slant toward the south. I could barely see the object at the top of the windshield and had to lean forward to get a better view. I’m thinking this would correspond to about a 30 degree angle but would have to recalculate if anyone wanted a better guess. When it was over I immediately looked at my cell phone clock and it read 7:21pm (pacific)


  3. fire ball witnessed NW of Nunivak Island in Alaska at approx 9:15 AM on Feb. 11, 2013


  4. Saw a meteorite low in the central Texas sky as I was driving to work today (Feb 14, 2013). I even saw fragments fall off of it. It was about 6:25am CST and it was as low as the power lines. It was large enough to surprise me and looked like a shooting star, just way closer than I have ever seen. Location, just outside of Harker Heights, Texas. Unlikely that anyone else observed it as it was in the country.


  5. Today many inhabitants of Ural region Russia have seen a meteorite: Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk region. Windows and some buildings were broken. It’s really scary((( No one knew that 15 February near the Earth will pass an asteroid(((


  6. Larry Kosowan says: February 15, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Perhaps these events are linked to the observed incidents above? Have your cameras ready. Note elevation, compass location and direction of flight, time and zone.
    An asteroid will pass today, 15 Feb 2013 in the southern hemisphere. Big and close. And earlier (9am their time) in Russia a meteorite entered the atmosphere at 33,000 feet (11,000 m.) breaking windows as it shuddered through the air.
    Please note which direction you were headed Kara, and which way the object passed. Thanks for noting the height and location.
    Walt what time zone is that? How high in the sky? Left to right? Were you facing northwest?
    Patricia, how high, left to right?


    • kaye olmsted says: February 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      We saw it..My husband and I were coming through downtown Atlanta around 11:30pm , from a concert in Athens. It was really close and was big. It looked like a gigantic shooting star but then broke in half and continued to burn , Was really amazing.


  7. Jenni Kanniard says: February 15, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I saw a fireball last night (2-14-13) when i pulled in my driveway around 11:30 pm in Locust grove, Georgia. It lasted a good 5 seconds and it was bright red. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen ! Did anyone else notice it?


  8. Jenni, I saw one in Woodstock,GA. It was almost 11:30 & I saw a ball of fire with flames streaming out behind it flying downward and toward the northwest. Amazing!


  9. Saw a bright fireball around 10:25 PM Central time last night (2-14) heading east from the east side of New Orleans


  10. sandy mcdermott says: February 16, 2013 at 12:30 am

    This morning at approximately 6:50 my daughter and I saw a stream of orange yellow coming down in the Sacramento area coming from south east going north. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a picture of it before the trees in my back yard blocked it from our view.


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