Meteor Activity Outlook for September 13-19, 2014

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Radiant Positions at 10pm LDT

Radiant Positions at 10pm Local Daylight Time

Radiant Positions at 1am Local Daylight Time

Radiant Positions at 1am Local Daylight Time

Radiant Positions at 5am Local Daylight Time

Radiant Positions at 4am Local Daylight Time

During this period the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Tuesday September 16th. At this time the moon is located 90 degrees west of the sun and rises near midnight local daylight time (LDT) for observers located in mid-northern latitudes. As the week progresses the moon will continue to wane and will be less of a problem for meteor observers. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 4 as seen from the northern hemisphere and 3 as seen from southern tropical latitudes. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 14 for observers located in mid-northern latitudes and 9 for south tropical observers. 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. Morning rates during this period are reduced due to moonlight. 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 13/14. 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.

These sources of meteoric activity are expected to be active this week:

The Southern Taurids (STA) are currently active from a radiant located at 00:56 (014) +04. This position lies in southern Pisces, four degrees south of the fourth magnitude star Delta Piscium. These meteors may be seen all night long but the radiant is best placed near 0200 LDT when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near one per hour regardless of your location. With an entry velocity of 29 km/sec., the average Southern Taurid meteor would be of slow velocity.

A recently discovered shower with a short duration of only 7 nights are the September Iota Cassiopeiids (SIC). These meteors were discovered by Juergen Rendtel and Sirko Molau while searching for radiants among the data of the IMO video network. This shower is active from September 10th through the 16th with maximum activity occurring on the 14th. At maximum, the radiant lies at  03:04 (046) +64. This position lies in eastern Cassiopeia some 7 degrees east of the 3rd magnitude star known as Segin (Epsilon Cassiopeiae). Rates at maximum are not expected to exceed 1 per hour. Due to the high northern declination (celestial latitude) this shower is poorly seen from the southern hemisphere. With an entry velocity of 55 km/sec., the average September Iota Cassiopeiid meteor would be of swift velocity. This shower may be an outlying member of the Perseus-Auriga complex active this time of year.

The September Epsilon Perseids (SPE) are active from a radiant located at 03:32 (053) +39. This position lies in southern Perseus, 4 degrees southwest of the 3rd magnitude star Epsilon Persei. The radiant is best placed near 0500 LDT, when it lies highest above the horizon. Rates seen from the northern hemisphere should be near 2 per hour during the morning hours. With an entry velocity of 65 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be swift. This activity is visible from the tropical regions of the southern hemisphere, but further south the radiant becomes too low in the sky to produce much activity.

The September Pi Orionids (POR) are a short duration shower discovered by John Greaves during his studies of video data from the SonotaCo Network in Japan. This shower is only active from September 16-20 with no discernible maximum. The average position of the radiant is 04:08 (062) +06 which places the radiant in southern Taurus between the 4th magnitude stars Nu and Upsilon Tauri. This position is also close to that of the Orionid radiant so care must be taken to differentiate between the two sources. Activity is expected to be low, especially with interference from the moon. This area of the sky is best placed in the sky during the last hour before dawn, when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. These meteor may be seen equally well from both hemispheres. With an entry velocity of 66 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be swift.

The Orionids (ORI) are active from a radiant at 04:36 (069) +03, which places it on the Taurus/Orion border some 15 degrees south of the bright orange first magnitude star known as Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri). The faint star known as Pi 3 Orionis lies a bit closer, 3 degrees to the northeast but is more difficult to locate. This area of the sky is best placed in the sky during the last hour before dawn, when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Rates this week would be near 2 per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 67 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be of swift speed.

Video studies by Molau and Rendtel has revealed a radiant active from September 7th-18th, with maximum activity occurring on the 9th. The current radiant position for the September Lyncids (SLY) is 07:48 (117) +56. This position lies in a remote area of northern Lynx. The nearest star of note is 4th magnitude Omicron Ursae Majoris, which lies 10 degrees to the northeast. This area of the sky is best placed during the last hour before dawn, when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Rates should be near 1 per hour as seen from the northern hemisphere and near zero from south of the equator. Due to the high northern declination this activity is not well seen south of the equator. With an entry velocity of 60 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be of swift speed.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately 8 sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near 3 per hour. As seen from the tropical southern latitudes (25S), morning rates would be near 6 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 2 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures. Morning rates are reduced due to interfering moonlight.

The list below offers the information from above in tabular form. Rates and positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning except where noted in the shower descriptions.

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
Southern Taurids (STA) Oct 10 00:56 (014) +04 29 02:00 1 – 1 II
September Iota Cassiopeiids (SIC) Sep 14 03:04 (046) +64 55 04:00 <1 – <1 IV
September Epsilon Perseids (SPE) Sep 09 03:36 (054) +39 65 05:00 2 – <1 II
September Pi Orionids (POR) Sep 18 04:08 (062) +06 66 06:00 <1 – <1 IV
Orionids (ORI) Oct 22 04:36 (069) +03 67 06:00 2 – 2 I
September Lyncids (SLY) Sep 09 07:48 (117) +56 60 09:00 1 – <1 IV

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8 comments

  • Dan Gidez 2 years ago

    I’m so thrilled I found this website!! I have been chasing varmints out of our yard and I’ve been going outside every hour on the hour starting from 2130PDT and will continue until Dawn.

    When I went out at 2130ish I caught a beautiful fireball, it was slow moving and green, nothing happened at 2230 but 2330 yielded 2 moderately fast moving meteorites and now, every trip I am seeing at least 1 very fast meteorite.

    All locations for these seem to be from somewhere adjacent to Orion, we have a moon and we have moderate city light pollution nevertheless the fireball was probably a mag 1 and the meteorites were mag 3s…

    It looks like I may be seeing a culmination of 3 showers going on at the same time, it’s nice to have your reference chart.

    Tomorrow I plan to take my cameras outside and try to locate the source of these, I’d love to catch another fireball..

    I appreciate your posting this helpful reference, it means something to me to be able to know I am actually seeing some sort of shower rather than a rogue meteorite,

    Cheers – Dan

    PS. My Locale is USA Sylmar California

    Reply to Dan
  • Tom 2 years ago

    Not sure how your track such things they are so quick.
    Sept. 13, 2014 at about 9PM, it had not been dark long I saw one of the brightest meteors I have ever witnessed. It came into view directly above perceptually close as the trail was bright white with a bluish border and orange specs flaking off outside of that. It travelled from directly over head from a little west of north to a little east of south. From the roofline where it came into view to the trees behind the house is about 40 feet. Higher up the point of view is about 80 feet. It was so bright after it passed the tree line I could still see it through the trees. Very cool to see considering how long it may have been traveling about.
    T

    Reply to Tom
  • lou ann 2 years ago

    saw a big flash of light like a big sparkler bust in the sky/ 10:56 pm 9/14 traveling north on us 219 in the vicinity of jerome patraveling toward johnstown. light was bluish white

    Reply to lou
    • Christopher 2 years ago

      I saw it in Uniontown, PA too Lou Ann, Sunday night around 10:46pm. It caused flashing and crackling too.

      Reply to Christopher
  • kim 2 years ago

    My husband was traveling around the area of Wiley ford WV last night around on rte 28 11p.m. he saw a light in the sky like a firework display. It lit up the sky
    for a brief moment and was gone.

    Reply to kim
  • Rick Schlauch 2 years ago

    Glad I found this website. We saw a huge meteor outside Bowie Md, It looked like a huge penis and was inverted and was only seen for about 5 seconds. Very exciting!

    Reply to Rick
  • Donna Lynn Rector 2 years ago

    Last night, Sunday, 14 Sept. 2014, at [estimated time of] 10:52 – 10:55 P.M. E.S.T. I observed a BRIGHT white meteor, descending at an 85 to 90 degree angle, while traveling in the Shenandoah National Park, VA, U.S.A., from Big Meadows Lodge area, driving toward the Skyland Lodge area on Skyline Drive. At first I thought the bright white light was a rogue firecracker (a BIG NO-NO in any National Park!). The intense, white light of this meteor seemed so large, and so CLOSE, that I was sure we would run upon it, in the roadway, straight ahead! The bright white light turned to a deep, beautiful blue, then briefly a blue-green color and was gone. :-( It was both beautiful and scary at the same time. I feared that it was a rocket. Was anyone able to capture any images, either photographs or video of this sight? If so, PLEASE share a photo or a link! Also, does anyone know where it landed? Thank you!

    Reply to Donna
  • Tamara B 2 years ago

    We also saw the bright blue fireball here at our home in mercersburg pa. It was at 11pm Sunday night, Sept 14, 2014. It was in the northern sky and only lasted a matter of seconds. It also caused two pack of nearby coyotes distress. They started howling and yipping.

    Reply to Tamara

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