Meteor Activity Outlook for March 13-19, 2021

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Hugues Courtois captured this bright fireball from Andeville, France, on February 18, 2021, at 02:19 CET (1:19 UT). For more reports on this fireball, visit:
https://fireball.amsmeteors.org/members/imo_view/event/2021/954 Credit Hugues Courtois

During this period the moon reaches its new phase on Saturday March 13th. On this date the moon is located near the sun and is invisible at night. Later in this period, a waxing crescent moon will enter the evening sky but will not interfere with meteor observing, especially during the more active morning hours. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 as seen from mid-northern latitudes and 5 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). For morning observers, the estimated total hourly rates should be near 8 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 13 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). 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 March 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 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 22:00 LDST

Radiant Positions at 22:00 Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 02:00 LDST

Radiant Positions at 02:00 Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 06:00 LDST

Radiant Positions at 06:00 Local Daylight Saving Time

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

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The center of the large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently located at 12:24 (186) -03. This position lies in western Virgo, 2 degrees southeast of the 4th magnitude star known as Zaniah (eta Virginis). Due to the large size of this radiant, Anthelion activity may also appear from eastern Leo and Crater, as well as western Virgo. This radiant is best placed near 0200 LDST, when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near 3 per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Anthelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

The gamma Normids (GNO) are an ill-defined source, only well seen from the Southern Hemisphere. Some sources dispute its existence while others have differing activity periods in March. Here we list the parameters from the International Meteor Organization*. They believe the activity period is from February 25 through March 28, with maximum activity occurring on March 14. At maximum, the radiant is located at 15:56 (239) -50. This area of the sky lies in central Norma, 1 degree southwest of the faint star known as eta Normae. These meteors are best seen during the last dark hour before dawn, when the radiant lies highest in a dark sky. With an entry velocity of 56km/sec., the average meteor from this source would be of medium-fast velocity. Zenith hourly rates are listed as 6 at maximum, but I believe this is overly optimistic.

The xi Herculids (XHE) were discovered by Sirko Molau and Javor Kac in 2009, using data from the IMO Video Network. These meteors are active from March 6-20, with maximum activity occurring on March 12th. Rates are low during the entire activity period, never surpassing 1 per hour. The radiant is currently located at 17:08 (257) +48. This position lies in extreme northern Hercules, 4 degrees southwest of the 3rd magnitude star known as Rastaban (beta Draconis). These meteors are not well seen from the Southern Hemisphere due to the high northern location of the radiant. These meteors are best seen during the last dark hour before dawn, when the radiant lies highest in a dark sky. With an entry velocity of 35km/sec., the average meteor from this source would be of medium velocity.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately 5 sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near 2 per hour. As seen from the tropical southern latitudes (25S), morning rates would be near 9 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 4 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.

*2021 Meteor Shower Calendar, by Juergen Rendtel, page 25

The list below offers the information from above in tabular form. Rates and positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning except where noted in the shower descriptions.

SHOWER DATE OF MAXIMUM ACTIVITY CELESTIAL POSITION ENTRY VELOCITY CULMINATION HOURLY RATE CLASS
RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Daylight Saving Time North-South
Anthelion (ANT) 12:24 (186) -03 30 02:00 3 – 3 II
gamma Normids (GNO) Mar 14 15:56 (239) -50 56 05:00 <1 – 1 IV
xi Herculids (XHE) Mar 12 17:08 (257) +48 35 06:00 <1 – <1 IV

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28 comments

  • Maile 1 month ago

    I just saw a huge falling streak kinda greenish straight down behind a treeline on my street I swear it was so close it could have hit earth but no noise.

    Reply to Maile
  • Kalipso 1 month ago

    Oneonta NY. We saw one around 12:45 am march 13th!!! Amazing.

    Reply to Kalipso
  • Denisse 1 month ago

    Yes!!! I saw flying by over Boston! Really pretty greenish color traveling west.

    Reply to Denisse
  • Erin 1 month ago

    I witnessed a white light just coming down from the sky ..it was midnight.. no noise.. didn’t seem that far away but it was over the tree line of my neighbors yard.

    Reply to Erin
  • Erin Odonnell 1 month ago

    I witnessed a bright white light falling through the night sky on March 13/14 at midnight in Scituate Mass. It was very fast but made no noise and lost sight of it over the tree line of my neighbors yard. Ironically we also lost power for a few seconds within an hour or so of this happening.

    Reply to Erin
  • Matt 1 month ago

    March 13th, just saw what looked like a meteor come down over north long beach (ca) first was falling fast, then slowed way down, then the tail dissipated leaving a glowing orb in the sky. All I saw because I had to turn off the road. Have a shifty cellphone video of it.

    Reply to Matt
  • Ava Dawn Hetzer 1 month ago

    At 6:03 this morning (with time change; Orlando FL) – March 14, I saw an fiery orange mass in the north-east sky while walking. Have never seen anything like it before.

    Reply to Ava
  • Robert Byrd 1 month ago

    I just witnessed a massive ball of bright white light which illuminated a major portion of the sky outside of Harpers Ferry, WV at 5am this morning

    Reply to Robert
  • Daniel 1 month ago

    Sunday March 14 2021. At 5 am. Chesterfield Virginia United States. Stepped outside to walk my puppy and as I looked into the sky facing east I say a very large bright object crossing the sky south to north with a spreading tail behind it almost like a fire ball with large smoke trail behind it.

    Reply to Daniel
  • Ben Crawley 1 month ago

    Just saw one from Raleigh, NC

    Reply to Ben
  • Kendra Glosson 1 month ago

    Just seen a HUGE white light following a ball in the sky around 6am over Bonlee, NC. It was traveling very fast and getting bigger by the second. Has this hit somewhere!??? Can’t find anything on the news or internet…PLEASE give me some answers!!!

    Reply to Kendra
  • NormR 1 month ago

    6 am March 14 2021 – saw the brightest light traveling horizontal over South Mountain, Boonsboro Md. Traveling fast, making no noise, leaving a very wide ‘cone’ of brightness behind it. Watched it for 20 seconds until it just faded out. The brightness it left in the sky hung around for a few minutes. The oddest, coolest thing ever!

    Reply to NormR
  • Rocco 1 month ago

    6:05 am Montgomery County PA , Just saw what looked like a large meteor traveling across the sky, leaving a large trail of falling light. I watched this for about 20 seconds then the trail of light stoped and the main section slowly burned out ,,, absolutely crazy.

    Reply to Rocco
  • jim 1 month ago

    3/14/2021 5:15 am Noticed a bright light, thought it was landing lights on a plane, but it had a contrail following it and then the contrail stopped suddenly and it kept moving

    Reply to jim
  • Josie 1 month ago

    My bf saw something fall on March 14th at around 5 am. He said it looked like a white disc with a trial of smoke behind it. Meteor or space trash ?

    Reply to Josie
  • M 1 month ago

    for the first time in my life I witness what we call a fireball meteorite at 06;03 am in West Oakland park Sunrise Florida.
    that thing went so fast I couldn’t take a great picture it was sooooo beautiful.03/14/2021.

    Reply to M
    • Robert Lunsford 1 month ago

      All of these reports of a fireball appearing just after 6am EDT on March 14 are actually sightings of the launch of a SpaceX rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

      Reply to Robert
  • Bren Munro 1 month ago

    Collingwood, Ontario
    Just saw 2 meteors in the South…East to West…flamed out fast

    Reply to Bren
  • Druanne 1 month ago

    I live on Staten Island on the western shore of NY Harbor. At about 6:05 am EDT 3/14/2021, I looked out my window into the eastern sky toward Brooklyn and saw an enormous comet tail lighting up the sky just above New York Harbor. After a minute or so, the tail became a big cloud and gradually the light point from which it emanated faded.

    Reply to Druanne
  • Christina Hoffman 1 month ago

    Me and my family where outside and saw a green fireball shooting across the sky and through the clouds around 7:30-8pm on Friday March 12, 2021. We live in Indianland SC. It looked like the Green Lantern flying over us. Very beautiful and surreal. Wish I could have gotten a photo or video but was too star struck to move.

    Reply to Christina
    • Julie Maddera 1 month ago

      My family and friend’s was out side seen a bright green light fireball ,meteorite or something. 12:30am march 12th in Utah

      Reply to Julie
  • Barney 1 month ago

    saw one break up into about 6 parts, all in a straight line on Monday morning a little after 6 am north of Philadelphia

    Reply to Barney
  • Lauren 1 month ago

    Just saw one tonight “white” in color. Located near stonewall Resort WV tonight around 8:50pm.

    Reply to Lauren
  • Sam 1 month ago

    I love in southern PA by the Marland border. It’s the 21 of March and me and my neighbor just was what I belive is a meteor. It was bright light that shot so fast across the sky followed by a tiny tiny tiny shooting star. There was no noise from it just an almost blinding light the it was gone. Then about 35 40 minutes later another one shot across they sky.

    Reply to Sam
  • Christina 1 month ago

    My husband saw something bright shoot across the sky while at Lake Greenwood, SC. It was March 12 sometime after dark.

    Reply to Christina
  • Mary 1 month ago

    Greenish falling star in western nc. It was a beautiful sight and moved slower. It looked huge so it was kind of close. No sound either. 3/28/2021

    Reply to Mary
  • girl 1 month ago

    My family and friend’s was out side seen a bright green light fireball ,meteorite or something. 12:30am march 12th in Utah

    Reply to girl

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