During this period the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Friday September 27th. At this time the moon is located 90 degrees west of the sun and will rise near midnight local daylight time as seen from mid-northern latitudes. This weekend the waning gibbous moon will rise a few hours after dusk and will obscure all but the brightest meteors the remainder of the night. The dark meteor observing window increases by roughly 45 minutes each night between moon rise and dusk. Unfortunately the evening hours are poor for viewing meteor activity so do not expect to see much activity during this time. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near four for observers located in the northern hemisphere and three for those viewing south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near nine as seen from mid-northern latitudes and near seven for observers viewing from tropical southern latitudes. Morning rates during this period are reduced due to moonlight. 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. Note that the hourly rates listed below are estimates as viewed from dark sky sites away from urban light sources. Observers viewing from urban areas will see less activity as only the brightest meteors will be visible from such locations.
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 September 21/22. 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 sources of meteoric activity are expected to be active this week. Details of each source will return next week when the situation with moonlight is much improved.
The table below presents a list of radiants that are expected to be active 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|
|IMO #166||Sep 24||17:40 (065) +84||38||18:00||<1 – <1||II|
|Southern Taurids (STA)||Oct 10||01:08 (017) +06||29||02:00||1 – 1||II|
|September Epsilon Perseids (SPE)||Sep 09||04:12 (063) +40||66||05:00||1 – <1||II|
|Delta Aurigids (DAU)||Sep 25||05:08 (077) +58||63||06:00||<1 – <1||IV|
|Orionids (ORI)||Oct 22||05:12 (078) +09||67||06:00||1 – 1||I|
|Beta Aurigids (BAU)||Sep 23||05:52 (088) +49||67||07:00||<1 – <1||IV|
|September Lyncids (SLY)||Sep 09||07:48 (110) +54||60||09:00||<1 – <1||IV|