Meteor Activity Outlook for March 6-12, 2021

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Daniel Brannon captured this bright fireball from San Luis Obispo Bay, California, USA, on 10 February 2021, at 21:21 PST (5:21 UT on February 11). For more reports on this fireball, visit: https://fireball.amsmeteors.org/members/imo_view/event/2021/778 Credit Daniel Brannon https://danbrannonphotography.com/

During this period, the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Saturday March 6th. On this date the half-illuminated moon will rise near 2:00 local standard time (LST) and will remain in the sky the remainder of the night. Lunar interference will decrease with each passing night as the moon’s phase wanes and the moon rises later each morning. The total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 as seen from mid-northern latitudes and 4 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). For morning observers, the estimated total hourly rates should be near 6 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 10 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. Morning 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 March 6/7. 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 20:00 LST

Radiant Positions at 20:00 Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at 00:00 LST

Radiant Positions at 00:00 Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at 04:00 LST

Radiant Positions at 04:00 Local Standard Time

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 11:56 (179) +00. This position lies in western Virgo, 2 degrees southeast of the 4th magnitude star known as Zavijava (beta 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 0100 LST, when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near 2 per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Anthelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

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 16:41 (250) +50. This position lies in extreme northern Hercules, just north of the faint star known as 42 Herculis. The 3rd magnitude star Rastaban (beta Draconis), lies 8 degrees to the northeast. 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 36km/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 4 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 8 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 3 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures. Morning rates are reduced during this period due to moonlight.

 

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 Standard Time North-South
Anthelion (ANT) 11:00 (165) +06 30 01:00 2 – 2 II
xi Herculids (XHE) Mar 12 16:41 (250) +50 36 06:00 <1 – <1 IV

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24 comments

  • David A Vickers 6 months ago

    Saw a long bright multi colored meteor? in the western sky from south to north around midnight 3/6… was the best shooting star I have ever seen looked like a missle.

    Reply to David
  • Jon L 6 months ago

    Just saw one just before dusk traveling west to east roughly March 7, 2021 at 17:45 local time South Western Massachusetts

    Reply to Jon
  • Amanda Elaine Beaird nichols 6 months ago

    I saw one in havana it fell exactly by koontz old yellow house off main street ill say between it and bank but prob between it and mid hill or church ?

    Reply to Amanda
    • Jim Talaska 6 months ago

      Use a strong magnet on a stick and try and go find it! it looks like a black rock but it’ll be magnetic they are valuable! And just awesome to find! Good luck!

      Reply to Jim
  • Joseph 6 months ago

    Seen a very bright one as we were driving into Oak Grove around midnight Saturday. One of the best one I’ve ever got to see in my life.

    Reply to Joseph
  • Mf 6 months ago

    Is it possible to hear them? I heard a loud explosion like sound on 3/9/21 at around 4:34 am above Lemoyne, PA. Saw slight illumination outside almost as if I had my porch light on enough to silhouette tree branches swaying in the wind. Suddenly sounded like an extremley loud pop cough that’s as loud as a huge 18 wheeler speeding past my house lasting approximately 1.5-2 seconds. It was different than a truck in that there was little or no rumbling of approaching sound or fading away as it passed by.

    Reply to Mf
    • Robert Lunsford 6 months ago

      It’s possible that fireballs produce delayed sonic booms if they survive down to the lower portion of the atmosphere. I checked our list of fireballs and did not see any reports for your area at the time and date you mentioned. Either it was cloudy in your area or the sound you heard was not from a celestial source.

      Reply to Robert
  • Pamela J Freeman 6 months ago

    I seen one on the afternoon of the 7th over Fort Pierce FL.

    Reply to Pamela
  • Karen Distelrath 6 months ago

    I saw one over Fort Myers, Florida on March 7, 2021…at first I thought it was a falling star, but it was too big, too close, and went too long. Mine traveled southeast to northeast. The color was white.

    Reply to Karen
  • Kevin Boisvert 6 months ago

    Saw a red bright ball that ended up having a tail streak on it in the northern sky around 2am from my yard in Spring hill Florida 3-11-21.

    Reply to Kevin
  • Glenn D. Froese 6 months ago

    Saw what looked like a meteor streaking across the BC sky this morning just before 5:00 am PST.
    Can anyone confirm if this was a meteor? It was in the North East sky when I was looking from my house in Abbotsford, B.C.

    Reply to Glenn
  • Robert Bauer 6 months ago

    I live in Rockford, IL. At around 7:00pm tonight March 11. I saw what looked like a meteor come into our atmosphere. I’ve seen meteor showers before. But this was super bright, and looked really close. I have to say it was pretty cool.

    Reply to Robert
    • Sara K 6 months ago

      I live in Chicago and I saw one too! Same day and time, it was Northwest of me in Logan Square. It was super cool, I’ve had it on my mind since. It had to have been bright for me to see it even with city lights.

      Reply to Sara
  • funtastyjon 6 months ago

    Saw one tonight, Western sky. 7:50 pm EST in Western Michigan.

    Reply to funtastyjon
  • Michelle R Duszynski 6 months ago

    Saw orange fire ball streaking in portage indiana tonight around 630pm cst on 03-11-21

    Reply to Michelle
  • Lisa Johnson 6 months ago

    Saw one tonight at 9:30 p.m. in Huntsville, Alabama

    Reply to Lisa
  • Gary 6 months ago

    About 6:50pm PST I saw a large white ball of light streak through the sky from the east to the west downward toward earth. I was driving north in NESIKA BEACH OREGON.

    Reply to Gary
    • Gary 6 months ago

      This was NOT ONE WEEK AGO it was tonight March 12,2021

      Reply to Gary
  • Nathan North 6 months ago

    I saw about 15 meteors over about 5 minutes around 4:10 am, March 13, 2021 in Warsaw, Poland. All coming from the same point somewhere between Delphinus and Aljanah in Cygnus.

    Reply to Nathan
  • Roger 6 months ago

    March 12, 2021 about 7:30 pm. While driving South on I-81 in Pennsylvania, close to Maryland border. Saw bright meteor traveling in a West to Easterly direction, rather low altitude. My wife and I thought it was a plane going down…. very bright, very low.

    Reply to Roger
    • Robert 6 months ago

      I seen that exact same one traveling south on I-81 South in Virginia coming from Harrisonburg, Virginia at the same time. It was very bright, low, and round ball shape, it was as bright as the headlights on the new cars.

      Reply to Robert
  • Tony 6 months ago

    We seen the same object on March 12th 2021 also. Our 5 year old spotted it flying across the sky and asked what it was. It was huge and had a white trail of smoke behind it moving very fast. We live north of Philadelphia and we seen ours at 6:05 – 6:08 p.m. moving south over Philadelphia. So I would believe it was the same one we seen, because it was heading towards Maryland . Glad we weren’t the only ones to see it. I wrote to the local news agency to try to look at their weather cameras and see it, I dont think it would be hard to miss. There were airplanes flying below it and I’m sure they seen it from the planes too.

    Reply to Tony
  • Kristen 6 months ago

    Good Morning! What did I just witness ? Anyone see at [535 am] Looking N I am 17 miles WEST of Hartford Ct. base of Litchfield Hills in Canton A HUGE bright white light falling from the sky. It was so close it looked like it landed nearby maybe within neighborhood. No noise (dogs did not react) I have never seen anything like this so “apparently “ close. I will consider it a gift, just wondering if anyone else caught a glimpse

    Reply to Kristen

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