Meteor Activity Outlook for October 15-21, 2011

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During this period the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Thursday October 20th. At this time the moon will lie ninety degrees west of the sun and will rise near midnight local daylight time (LDT). This weekend the waning gibbous moon will rise during the early evening hours and will effectively ruin the late evening and early morning hours with intense moonlight. One could watch for meteors during the early evening hours between dusk and moonrise. Unfortunately at this time of night activity will be low. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near two as seen from the northern hemisphere and one as seen from the southern hemisphere. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near eight as seen from mid-northern latitudes and six 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 during this period 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 October 15/16. 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.

Detailed descriptions of each shower will continue when the moonlight situation improves.The following showers are expected to be active this week:
Rates and positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning.

RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Daylight Time North-South
Southern Taurids(STA) Oct 10 02:27 (037) +10 27 02:00 1 – 1 II
Sigma Arietids (SSA) Oct 19 03:10 (047) +22 46 02:00 <1 – <1 IV
Zeta Taurids (ZTA) Oct 16 05:19 (080) +12 61 04:00 <1 – <1 IV
Orionids (ORI) Oct 22 06:06 (091) +16 67 05:00 2 – 2 I
OctoberUrsa Majorids (OCU) Oct 15 09:42 (146) +63 53 09:00 <1 – <1 IV



  • Javier Guzman 12 years ago

    On 10/23 witnessed an oject similiar to comet/meorite moving NE Alderanim object moved ped up and exploded like fireworks.

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  • Javier Guzman 12 years ago

    Approximately 9:45pm mountain time. Object located NE Alderamin area. Moving downward about 45° angle speed was quite fast Object picked up speed from original speed Object exploded similiar to fireworks. From point of origin 10-15 seconds travel time prior to explosion. Size/diameter hard to decifer .
    Does the gibbious moon phase and locale and planetary position make meorite showers and fireballs more condusive

    Reply to Javier
  • Annamarie Jackson 12 years ago

    Picture this: Driving west on the I 10 from Tillmans corner Alabama I saw a fire ball with a long tail. I watched the fireball untill the view was hidden by the sun. I haven’t seen anything in the media I took a pic. with my phone, but my phone isn’t a smart one so it didn’t come out so well. Did anyone else report or photograph this sighting

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