Meteor Activity Outlook for January 31-February 6, 2015

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fireball   Minnesota on September 12, 2014.

Fireball over Martin Lake, Minnesota – September 12, 2014 © J. Ericson

Radiant Positions at 8pm Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at 8pm Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at Midnight Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at Midnight Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at 4am Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at 4am Local Standard Time

February offers the meteor observer in the northern hemisphere a couple of weak showers plus falling sporadic rates. This may not seem too exiting but you never know when surprises are in store. An errant earthgrazer from the Centaurid complex may shoot northward. Better yet, a bright fireball may light up the sky. February is the start of the fireball season, when an abundance of fireballs seem to occur. This lasts well into April and seems to occur mostly during the early evening hours.

Observers in the southern hemisphere are treated to the Alpha Centaurid peak on the 8th plus the entire Centaurid complex of radiants is active all month long. This is reminiscent of the summer activity seen from the northern hemisphere in the Milky Way constellations of Perseus and Auriga during August and September. Sporadic rates also peak this month south of the equator this month adding to the celestial show.

During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Tuesday February 3rd. At this time the moon is located opposite the sun and will lie above the horizon all night long for observers located in mid-northern latitudes. This weekend the waxing gibbous moon will set near the beginning of dawn so there will not really be any opportunity to view meteor activity under dark skies. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 1 for observers situated at mid-northern latitudes and 2 for observers viewing from the southern tropics (latitude 25 S.). For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 5 for observers situated at mid-northern latitudes and 6 for observers viewing from the southern tropics. Rates are reduced during this period 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 January 31/February 1. 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. Details of each source will be available next week when the situation with moonlight improves.

RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Standard Time North-South
Anthelions (ANT) 09:40 (145) +12 30 01:00 1 – <1 II
February Epsilon Virginids (FEV) Feb 04 13:12 (198) +12 64 04:00 <1 – <1 IV
Alpha Centaurids (ACE) Feb 08 13:28 (202) -57 56 04:00 <1 – 1 II
Alpha Coronae Borealids (ACB) Jan 28 15:46 (236) +22 57 06:00 1 – <1 IV
Feb. Eta Draconids (FED) Feb 04 15:55 (239) +61 32 06:00 <1 – <1 IV



  • Wendy Bailey 2 years ago

    We are in Northern CA in Coastal Mendocino County. This morning January 31st at approx. 6:28 pacific time my husband Ken was parked overlooking the ocean when he saw a fireball shoot across the sky, leaving a large trail. It then exploded in front of him, and a second later there was a secondary explosion. This was just at the Gualala River, which is the boundary between Sonoma and Mendocino Counties in California, North of San Francisco. It was also seen by another person who was up at that time.
    Wendy Bailey

    Reply to Wendy
    • Wendy Bailey 2 years ago

      The fireball was traveling in a Northerly direction, and it seemed to be coming toward my husband. He said he was relieved that it exploded over the ocean before hitting him.

      Reply to Wendy
  • David McRoberts 2 years ago

    Did y’all see/hear about the large meteorite somewhere over the Midwest about 9:55 pm on 1/31/2015
    I was traveling south on Rt 8 from Smith Creek to Childress Rd outside of Christiansburg VA
    The meteorite was on to my right and moving in the same general direction I was
    which would have made it to my west and heading north to south
    It lasted a good 3 minutes broke up and finally and I lost it on the horizon
    David McRoberts

    Reply to David
  • Gaurav 2 years ago

    I saw a fireball In India today (6th Feb )…Around 6 pm…it is bright n coming slowly towards the earth…it is really magnificent..!!

    Reply to Gaurav
  • Kairi Sullivan 2 years ago

    It is February 6th, 2015. It is approximately 11:00PM as I am writing this. About thirty minutes ago around 10:32 or so my father came in and told me that he had seen a blue meteor come down. it is in Henderson, NV and he said it looked like it was landing approximately 100 yards or so from the house of Lance Burton.

    Reply to Kairi
  • John 2 years ago

    Large meteor over Cincinnati last night Feb. 6th 2015. Looked just like the picture above. Meteor pulsed brighter 2 times as it flew over the city. Wished i could have filmed it.

    Reply to John
  • Melanie 2 years ago

    Large meteor seen over Hood River, OR 6:25pm 2/15/15. Amazing when this can be caught in person!

    Reply to Melanie
    • Joanna Creek 2 years ago

      Also saw that huge meteor on 2/15/15 at about 6:27 I thought. Was travelling south on I205 in Vancouver, WA and thought at first it was the lights of a helicopter it was so big. It issued green and clear light. Once I saw how fast it was going I realized it couldn’t be an aircraft, I thought what the heck is that. And then it burned up. Biggest meteor I’ve ever witnessed.

      Reply to Joanna
    • Pete 2 years ago

      I was driving along SR 14 near John Day Dam (“The Wall”) in the Columbia River Gorge on 2/22/15 6:15 pm and saw a very large, bright fireball in the sky to the south. moving from east to west. Awesome!!

      Reply to Pete
  • Steve 2 years ago

    Hi Robert,

    Is the Fireball season applicable in the Southern Hemisphere in March?

    Reply to Steve
    • amsadmin 2 years ago

      Steve and All,

      The fireball season is reversed in the southern hemisphere therefore the best time for evening fireballs for you will be August through October.

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society

      Reply to amsadmin
  • John 2 years ago

    Is there any updates and a 3d map view and trajectory for this event? Thanx

    Reply to John

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