Meteor Activity Outlook for October 8-14, 2011

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During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Wednesday October 12th. At this time the moon will lie opposite of the sun and will be in the sky all night long. This weekend the waxing gibbous moon will set during the early morning hours and will allow a couple of hours of meteor observing in dark skies before morning twilight. 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 six as seen from mid-northern latitudes and four 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 8/9. 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
Draconids (GIA) Oct 08 17:28 (262) +54 20 19:00 <1 – <1 III
Southern Taurids(STA) Oct 10 02:04 (031) +09 27 02:00 1 – 1 II
Orionids (ORI) Oct 22 05:44 (086) +16 67 05:00 1 – 1 I
October Camelopardalids (OCT) Oct 06 10:48 (162) +79 45 11:00 <1 – <1 IV


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