Meteor Activity Outlook for April 23-29, 2016

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Star Trails and Lyrid Meteor over UK – © Rob Payne 2014

During this period the moon wanes from its full phase to nearly one-half illuminated. This is the worst time of the month to try and view meteor activity as the bright moonlight will obscure all but the brightest meteors. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 2 for observers located in the northern hemisphere and 3 for observers located south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 7 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 9 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). 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.

Radiant Positions at 9pm LDT

Radiant Positions at 9pm Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 1am Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 1am Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 5am LDT

Radiant Positions at 5am Local Daylight Saving Time

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 April 23/24. 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 far 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.

Detailed shower descriptions will continue next week when viewing conditions are much more favorable.

SHOWER DATE OF MAXIMUM ACTIVITY CELESTIAL POSITION
RA (RA in Deg.) DEC
ENTRY VELOCITY
Km/Sec
CULMINATION
Local Daylight Saving Time
HOURLY RATE
North-South
CLASS
pi Puppids (PPU) Apr 23 07:22 (111) -45 18 19:00 <1 – <1 III
sigma Leonids (SLE) Apr 15 13:46 (206) +03 19 01:00 <1 – <1 IV
Anthelions (ANT) 15:06 (226) -18 30 02:00 1 – 1 II
Lyrids (LYR) Apr 22 18:16 (274) +33 46 05:00 1 – <1 I
April rho Cygnids (AEC) Apr 22 21:04 (316) +45 42 08:00 1 – <1 IV
eta Aquariids (ETA) May 07 22:03 (330) -04 67 09:00 1 – 1 I

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4 comments

  • Allyson Dredge 8 months ago

    I saw a huge rock enter the atmosphere,last night,traveling south east,in the Chico Oroville area. I have never seen such a thing! Anybody else see this? ?

    Reply to Allyson
    • Jonathan 8 months ago

      Allyson – not sure what date you saw this, but on the 29th I saw a huge meteor in the South, heading east, around 9:30 or 10, South of you down by grass Valley. Same thing?

      Reply to Jonathan
      • mark 8 months ago

        i saw the same meteor looking north around 9:50 pm on the 29th. it was the most amazing one i have ever seen. streaked across the entire sky breaking up into multiple pieces heading east/southeast.

        concord, ca

        Reply to mark
  • CeCe 8 months ago

    I seen something that possibly could be what you saw April 28th I seen what I thought was a airplane it was flying straight across the sky all you could see was a line of smokethen it started declining and headed towards the ground I took a picture of it I just knew it was about to hit right in front of us as we were driving on the freeway. It definitely was not an airplane! It scared the mess out of me this happened in the daytime

    Reply to CeCe

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