Meteor Activity Outlook for December 26 – January 1, 2016

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Geminids 2015 over the Xinglong National Observatory, China (Canon 6D + 24 LII lens, f/1.8, ISO12800) – Composite image. © NightChina.net

Radiant Positions at 5am LST

Radiant Positions at 7pm Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at Midnight Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at Midnight Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at 5am LST

Radiant Positions at 5am Local Standard Time

During this period the moon wanes from being full to nearly one-half illuminated. This weekend the nearly full moon will obscure all but the brightest meteors. Conditions will sightly improve with each passing night as the phase wanes and the moon rises later each night. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 2 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 8 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 6 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). Rates are reduced during this period due to interfering 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 December 26/27. 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 continue next week when a decrease in moonlight allows better viewing conditions.

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
Anthelion (ANT) 07:12 (108) +22 30 01:00 1 – <1 II
Alpha Hydrids (AHY) Dec 31 08:08 (122) +02 43 02:00 <1 – <1 IV
c Velids (CVE) Dec 29 09:04 (136) -54 39 03:00 <1 – <1 II
January Leonids (JLE) Jan 02 09:46 (147) +24 59 04:00 <1 – <1 II
Dec. Leonis Minorids (DLM) Dec 21 10:48 (168) +27 63 05:00 1 – <1 II
Coma Berenicids (COM) Dec 31 12:00 (180) +15 70 06:00 <1 – <1 II
Dec. Sigma Virginids (DSV) Dec 24 13:48 (207) +03 68 08:00 <1 – <1 IV
Dec. Alpha Draconids (DAD) Dec 30 14:44 (221) +53 42 09:00 <1 – <1 I
Quadrantids (QUA) Jan 04 15:12 (228) +50 41 10:00 1 – <1 I

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2 comments

  • Charlie Baird 12 months ago

    Sir,
    On my way to work I was traveling northbound on I-5 in northern Whatcom county Washington about 5 miles south of the Canadian border. At approximately 2120 PST 01/01/2016 I saw a meteor enter the atmosphere moving from the south southeast toward the north northwest about 30 degrees above the horizon. From my vantage point its line of travel had it just east of Vancouver BC airport. Anyway thought you might like the info.
    Have a great New Year

    Reply to Charlie
  • Esteban "Steve" Taracido 12 months ago

    I spent the first week of January til the first week of March , 2016 in Puerto Rico (USA) , Isla Verde , Carolina , and during that time I spent several evenings observing the Southern Caribbean Sky …to make a long story short , I believe that I witnessed several objects that appeared like shooting stars …unfortunately , I am totally unfamiliar with the science of Astronomy or how to read a Constellation Chart of the Southern Sky…in addition to the fact that I am as old as Pope Francis ( He was born on December 17 , 1936 and I was born Dec. 31 1936 , making us both 79 years of age ,) We are both reaching the age where we will be Octogenarian’s and my eye-sight is not as good as it used to be…however, I know what I saw , they were like occasional shooting stars falling into our atmosphere and upon my return to New York , I immediately purchased a book , The Telescope and The World Of Astronomy , by Marvin F. Riemer ( Third Edition which contained a Constellation Chart of the Northern Sky , which gives me a fundamental astronomical knowledge of what I am looking at here in the sky’s of New York State…The next time I get to Puerto Rico , I hope to have an updated Constellation Chart of Southern Caribbean Sky of Puerto Rico , and I will be able to contribute an amateur – student /novice explanation of what I see , with my brand new telescope and binocular’s to my new found friends at http://WWW.amsmeteors.org

    Reply to Esteban

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