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 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 center of the large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently located at 10:32 (158) +07. This position lies in southern Leo, just south of the 4th magnitude star known as Rho Leonis. Due to the large size of this radiant, Anthelion activity may also appear from Cancer, northwestern Hydra, Sextans, and Leo Minor as well as Leo. This radiant is best placed near 0100 local standard time (LST), when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near 2 per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Anthelion meteor would be of slow velocity.
After studies of the IMO video database provided by cameras located in Australia, Sirko Molau has determined that two more of the Centaurid radiants belonging to the southern hemisphere summer Velid-Crux-Centaurus complex may be distinguished by visual observers. These positions differ from those listed in the IAUs Meteor Data Center so actual shower members may not line up perfectly with the positions given here. The lack of cameras and actual data from the southern hemisphere prevents us from provided better parameters for these far southern radiants. The first of these radiants, the Omega Centaurids (OCA) may be seen from February 12-16 with maximum occurring on the 14th. At maximum the radiant is predicted to be near 13:16 (199) -55. This position lies in southern Centaurus, 4 degrees southwest of the 2nd magnitude star known as Epsilon Centauri. The MDC position lies in the southern portion of the Centaurus between Pi Centauri and Gacrux (Gamma Crucis). These meteors are best seen near 0330 LST when the radiant lies highest above the horizon. Maximum rates are not known but expected to be less than 1 per hour as seen from the southern hemisphere. These meteors are not visible north of 35N latitude. They are best seen from the southern tropics where the radiant rises high into the sky and the summer nights are longer than they are at more southern locations. At 48 km/sec. the Omega Centaurids would produce meteors with average velocities.
The Pi Hydrids (PIH) were discovered in Dr. Peter Jenniskens and mentioned in his book Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets. Studies of the IMO video database by Sirko Molau and Juergen Rendtel confirmed the existence of this shower. These meteors are active from February 4-15, with maximum activity occurring on the 7th. The radiant is currently located at 13:44 (206) -20. This area of the sky is located in extreme southeastern Virgo, directly between bright Spica (Alpha Virginis) and the 3rd magnitude star known as Pi Hydrae. These meteors are best seen near 0500 LST when the radiant lies highest above the horizon. Hourly rates are expected to be less than 1. These meteors are visible over most of the Earth, with the southern hemisphere having slightly better viewing conditions. At 57 km/sec. the Pi Hydrids would produce mostly swift meteors.
The 2nd of these weak Centaurid radiants are the Theta Centaurids (TCN). This radiant is also active February 12-16 with maximum occurring on the 14th. This activity may actually be detected by observers situated at mid-northern latitudes as the position lies near 13:56 (209) -29. This position lies near the Centaurus-Hydra border, 4 degrees southwest of the 3rd magnitude star known as Pi Hydrae. The MDC position lies 11 degrees further south between the stars Theta and Nu Centauri. These meteors are best seen near 0415 LST when the radiant lies highest above the horizon. Maximum rates are not known but expected to be less than 1 per hour as seen from the southern hemisphere. Although this source is visible from most of the northern hemisphere, this radiant are best seen from the southern tropics where the radiant rises higher into the sky At 65 km/sec. most of the Theta Centaurids would produce meteors with fast velocities.
The Alpha Centaurids (ACE) are active from January 28 though February 21, with maximum activity occurring on February 8. The radiant is currently located at 14:28 (217) -61. This position lies in southeastern Centaurus only 2 degrees west of the brilliant zero magnitude star known as Rigel Kentaurus (Alpha Centauri). Due to the southern declination of this radiant, these meteors are not well seen in the northern hemisphere. Current rates would be near 2 per hour as seen from the southern hemisphere and less than 1 from the northern hemisphere. These meteors are best seen near 0500 LST when the radiant lies highest above the horizon. At 56 km/sec. the Alpha Centaurids would produce mostly swift meteors.
The February Mu Virginids (FMV) were discovered by Damir Šegon and colleagues from the Croatian Meteor Network using their data and that of SonotaCo. These meteors are active from February 15 through March 4 with maximum activity occurring on February 26. The current radiant position lies near 14:36 (219) -07, which places it southeastern Virgo, 5 degrees east of the faint star known as Iota Virginis. Rates are expected to be less than 1 per hour no matter your location. These meteors are best seen near 0500 LST when the radiant lies highest above the horizon. At 62 km/sec. the February Mu Virginids would produce mostly swift meteors.
The Beta Herculids (BHE) were discovered by Sirko Molau and Juergen Rendtel using data from the IMO database. This weak shower is best seen from February 13-16 with maximum activity occurring on the 14th. At maximum the radiant is located at 16:24 (246) +25. This position lies in southwestern Hercules, 3 degrees north of the 3rd magnitude star known as Kornephoros (Beta Herculis). These meteors are best seen during the last dark hour before dawn when the radiant lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Hourly rates are expected to be less than 1, even at maximum activity. At 53 km/sec. the Beta Herculids would produce mostly swift meteors.
As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately 7 sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near 2 per hour. As seen from the tropical southern latitudes (25S), morning rates would be near 12 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 4 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.
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 Standard Time||North-South|
|Anthelions (ANT)||–||10:32 (158) +07||30||01:00||2 – 2||II|
|Omega Centaurids (OCE)||Feb 14||13:16 (199) -55||48||03:30||<1 – <1||IV|
|Pi Hydrids (PIH)||Feb 04||13:44 (206) -20||55||04:00||<1 – <1||IV|
|Theta Centaurids (TCN)||Feb 14||13:56 (209) -29||65||04:15||<1 – <1||IV|
|Alpha Centaurids (ACE)||Feb 08||14:28 (217) -61||56||04:45||<1 – 1||II|
|February Mu Virginids (FMV)||Feb 26||14:36 (219) -07||62||04:45||<1 – <1||IV|
|Beta Herculids (BHE)||Feb 14||16:24 (246) +25||53||06:30||<1 – <1||IV|