Meteor Activity Outlook for August 13-19, 2011

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During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Saturday August 13th. At this time the moon will lie opposite the sun in the sky and will be above the horizon all night long.  Next week the waning gibbous moon will rise later and later in the evening sky and will allow some dark sky viewing for a short time after the end of evening twilight. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near six as seen from the northern hemisphere and two as seen from the southern hemisphere. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near eighteen from mid-northern latitudes and eight from mid-southern latitudes. 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. Rates are reduced this week due to the intense moonlight.

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 August 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.

The following showers are expected to be active this week. Detailed descriptions of each shower will be continued next week when the moon will not interfere as much.

RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Daylight Time North-South
August Draconids (AUD) Aug 21 18:06 (271) +62 23 22:00 <1 – <1 IV
Kappa Cygnids (KCG) Aug 14 19:04 (286) +51 23 23:00 <1 – <1 IV
Antihelions (ANT) 22:16 (334) -08 30 02:00 <1 – 1 II
Delta Aquariids (SDA) Jul 30 23:33 (353) -12 42 03:00 <1 – 1 I
Eridanids (ERI) Aug 09 03:09 (047) -09 64 06:00 1 – 1 IV
Perseids (PER) Aug 13 03:18 (050) +58 61 06:00 10 – 2 I
Beta Perseids (BPE) Aug 07 03:22 (051) +37 67 06:00 <1 – <1 IV



  • Faith Smith 10 years ago

    August 13,2011: South Bethany, Delaware :approx. 12:14am dst
    We were watching the Perseid showers when suddenly, ascending southeast were not one, but two fireballs, the second one following the same course as the first. We thought they were going to collide but the first “pushed” the second towards the west and then it veered east, towards the Atlantic ocean and dissappeared while the second veered north and burnt out. Spectacular!!!

    Reply to Faith
  • Cam 10 years ago

    Just watched what I thought was a shooting star in Lansing, Michigan

    Reply to Cam
  • dori 10 years ago

    just saw a shooting star or a comet in Boston ma. around 10:15 ish at night .

    Reply to dori
  • erikwanberg 10 years ago

    I was disappointed with the perseids due to the moon and only saw a few dim shooting stars even though I spend hours scanning the sky. However, tonight made up for that, i was on the phone talking to a friendo from baca east and happened to be looking out the back door when I saw a bright tail streak across the sky about ten degrees above the horizon which travelled across the sky and from due north at about a five degree angle the tail remained in view as the fireball exploded and fragmented slightly which caused the tail to widen and finally at approximately due northeast a huge flash broke the single softball sized ball into several separate parts which left individual distinct tails as these fragments disappeared over the ridge of a nearby mountain at less than five degrees above the ground. I thought at first that a jet was crashing since the airport is nearby. Ive never seen anything like it. It was between midnight and 1 am in north Reno Nevada, I wonder if anyone else saw it.

    Reply to erikwanberg
    • fastfwd 10 years ago

      We also saw the same thing erikwanberg while sitting outside in Southern Oklahoma. I was on the phone with a cousin about 70 miles northwest of us and he also witnessed it. I kept thinking it would ‘disappear’ before I could get my husband’s attention, but it seemed to be full and bright until it disappeared behind a tree line. I’d like to know what it was! That’s what landed me to this site.

      Reply to fastfwd
  • CZ 10 years ago

    Aug. 19, 2011 at 12:50
    Camping at Sheldon Wildlife Reserve on a raised site. While brushing teeth outside, looking at the moon and a very bright start close to it when the sky beside and behind me lit up very quickly with a very warm hue of orange. I immediately looked to my right when there was orange street light at the beginning of the campsite turnoff. I thought perhaps a transformer blew or the light exploded but it was fine and still on. I quickly turned to my left and couldn’t believe the lit up sky beside me. I don’t really know what I saw but it was awesome. Unfortunately my husband had fallen asleep in our tent trailer and didn’t see it. I woke him up immediately as quickly moved some 15 feet to the tent trailer and stood there in shock close to his head trying to describe what I saw. I’m not sure what I was waiting for but stayed out there staring at the star filled sky for another 3/4 hr. My best description would be that it was so low to the ground, like a torpedio the size of a small plane or pick up truck. It was a ball of fire shaped like a torpedo. It quietly passed by me and I thought it went up the middle of the campsite. I expected to hear an explosion or see a huge fire, expection it to hit ground. It was moving parallel to the ground in a straight line. I heard nothing. I saw someone with a flashlight, perhaps walking near the area I thought it passed through. There was no talk about this the next morning. I wanted to ask the camp host about it as I thought it might be him who I saw with the flashlite, but we were leaving for Oregon that morning and he was not at his trailer. I have seen many “falling stars” and meteor showers and this was nothing like that. I have spent alot of time searching the net for someone who saw what I did. I can’t believe I was the only one. This was huge and low to the ground, not like a falling star in the sky that vanishes. Earlier that same day we had driven past the campsite area into the barren hills and viewed an old mine and a huge canyon. I would think that there must be another big hole there. What I saw couldn’t have just dissappeared. Any comments about this would be greatly appreciated. Other than my husband, I haven’t told anyone about this. I don’t think they would believe me.

    Reply to CZ
  • Pat 10 years ago

    I am fascinated to read of your sighting. I know very little about astrology so have no idea if the following has any agreement with your experience. On the same day as yours, around 9pm Zimbabwe time, we saw from Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, a very large meteorite with many trailers, which lit up the entire horizon, and matches your description very closely. It was clearly a very significant event. We have never seen any meteorite shower that comes anywhere close to how spectacular this was. We were camped at the Kennedy campsite and the meteorite sighting was to the south west. Others at a neighbouring wilderness camp at Hwange also saw the same meteorite and also commented on its size and brightness. Would love to know more if anyone has any information on this incident. Could it be possible that we saw the same thing?

    Reply to Pat

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