Meteor Activity Outlook for December 30, 2017-January 5, 2018

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Long-time exposure over Hecatompylos (Šahr-e Qumis, Iran) with two quadrantid meteors. Jan 14th, 2011 © Babak Tafreshi (TWAN)

During this period the moon will reach its full phase on Monday January 1st. At that time the moon will lie opposite the sun and will lie above the horizon all night long as seen from mid-northern latitudes. This will be the worst time to try and view meteor activity as the bright moon will obscure all but the brighter meteors. 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 10 as seen from mid-northern latitudes and 7 from the southern tropics. Rates during this period are reduced 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 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 30/31. 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.

Radiant Positions at 7pm LST

Radiant Positions at 7:00pm
Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at 12:00 LST

Radiant Positions at 12:00am
Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at 5am LST

Radiant Positions at 5:00am
Local Standard Time

These sources of meteoric activity are expected to be active this week.

Detailed descriptions of each stream will resume next week when the moonlight situation improves.

RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Standard Time North-South
Anthelion (ANT) 07:28 (112) +22 30 00:00 2 – 1 II
alpha Hydrids (AHY) Jan 03 08:12 (123) -08 43 01:00 <1 – <1 IV
January Leonids (JLE) Jan 03 09:44 (146) +24 51 02:00 <1 – <1 IV
December Leonis Minorids (DLM) Dec 21 11:16 (169) +26 63 04:00 2 – 1 II
Coma Berenicids (COM) Dec 31 12:24 (186) +12 70 05:00  1 – 1 II
Quadrantids (QUA) Jan 03 15:16 (229) +50 41 08:00 <1 – <1 I



  • Deborah Berlekamp 4 years ago

    Pretty sure saw long tailed shooting star heading west on Ohio turnpike dec 30 around 6 pm or so, between vermilion and toledo. Lasted a couple seconds, had the longest tail I have ever seen

    Reply to Deborah
  • Steve Pelton 4 years ago

    We saw a long bright green flash in central Wisconsin near Marshfield at 9:40 pm CST. Looks like many of the photos of green meteor flashes.

    Unusual on a clear night with a bright full moon.

    Reply to Steve
    • Adam Anderson 4 years ago

      I saw a similar thing when I was westbound on Highway 29 near Owen last night (Wednesday January 3, 2018).

      Reply to Adam
  • Hannah 4 years ago

    Saw one in canton Michigan on the way to work around 6:50 am.

    Reply to Hannah
  • Rob 4 years ago

    i am not sure what the heck I seen but was on the back roads I travel daily looked about the size of a vehicle was on a downward decent going across a corn field, had what looked to be fire or flames of the back. The odd thing was as it zipped across the sky which was visible from me looking through my windshield it did a hook or u-turn and then it was gone like i never seen it . I am perplexed this was seen on Saturday evening about 4:45 to 5:00 p.m.

    Reply to Rob
  • Bernadette 4 years ago

    Saw one in Dundas,Ontario at 6:40 am…brilliant streak of light as I was looking at the huge moon!

    Reply to Bernadette
  • Jay Hunstiger 4 years ago

    Saw close up, maybe a hundred feet away, a blue/green long tail flash between 9:15 and 9:30 pm between Maple Grove and Rogers, MN on Wednesday, January 3rd 2018. Nearly took my breath away. Extremely vivid colors.

    Reply to Jay
  • Kirsti Arndt 4 years ago

    5:30 am Jan 18, 2018
    Sequim, Washington, very close meteor, close enough to see actual rock.

    Reply to Kirsti
  • over here 4 years ago

    I may not be able to find the right place to observe meteor showers … I like the stellar fall and the unusual phenomenon in the sky! a couple of times just watched the Starship in Wisconsin, but the visibility was bad.

    Reply to over

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