During this period the moon will reach its full phase on Sunday December 3rd. At that time the moon will lie opposite the sun and will lie above the horizon all night long as seen from the northern hemisphere. Later in this period the moon will rise during the late evening hours allowing a few hours of observing under dark skies between dusk and moon rise. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 2 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 15 as seen from mid-northern latitudes and 10 from the southern tropics. 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. Meteor rates are reduced during this period due to moonlight. 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 brighter meteors will be visible from such locations.
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 December 2/3. 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 near 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.
Details on each source will continue next week when moonlight is more favorable for viewing meteor activity.
|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|
|December Phoenicids (PHO)||Dec 05||01:00 (015) -53||12||20:00||<1 – <1||III|
|December phi Cassiopeiids (DPC)||Dec 04||01:12 (018) +57||17||20:00||<1 – <1||IV|
|Northern Taurids (NTA)||Nov 02||05:24 (081) +29||28||00:00||2 – 1||II|
|Southern Taurids (STA)||Oct 29-Nov 03||05:32 (083) +22||27||00:00||1 – <1||II|
|Monocerotids (MON)||Dec 13||06:12 (093) +09||41||01:00||1 – 1||II|
|November Orionids (NOO)||Nov 29||06:24 (096) +16||43||01:00||2 – 1||II|
|Geminids (GEM)||Dec 14||06:52 (103) +34||34||02:00||1 – <1||I|
|Puppid/Velids (PUP)||Dec 07||08:00 (120) -45||40||03:00||<1 – 1||II|
|sigma Hydrids (HYD)||Dec 06 & Dec 18||08:08 (122) +03||61||03:00||2 – 2||II|
|December Leonis Minorids (DLM)||Dec 21||09:32 (143) +37||63||04:00||<1 – <1||II|
|psi Ursa Majorids (PSU)||Dec 05||10:56 (164) +44||62||05:00||<1 – <1||IV|
|December kappa Draconids (DKD)||Dec 04||12:20 (185) +73||44||07:00||<1 – <1||IV|
|December sigma Virginids (DSV)||Dec 13||12:44 (191) +10||66||07:00||<1 – <1||IV|
|December alpha Draconids (DAD)||Dec 04||13:24 (201) +61||44||08:00||<1 – <1||IV|