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Meteor Activity Outlook for November 3-9, 2000

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  • Robert Lunsford
    The moon reaches its first quarter phase on Saturday November 4. At this time it will be near the meridian at sunset and will set near midnight. This leaves
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2000
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      The moon reaches its first quarter phase on Saturday November 4. At this
      time it will be near the meridian at sunset and will set near midnight.
      This leaves the prime morning hours free of any interfering moonlight.
      Activity from the Taurid radiant will dominate the scene this week. Soon
      afterward the moon will be too bright for observing and will not allow
      decent viewing conditions until the Leonid maximum on November 17. The
      positions listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning
      November 4/5. The positions do not change greatly day to day so these
      positions may be used during this entire period.

      This week we start with a radiant listed among the showers of the Dutch
      Meteor Society. The Delta Eridanids is a very weak radiant now situated
      at 03:16 (049) -03. This position lies in northwestern Eridanus near the
      borders of Cetus and Taurus. I would watch for these meteors after
      moonset when the radiant lies near the meridian. This would be near
      midnight this weekend and later as we enter next week. These meteors
      would have characteristics similar to the Taurids. However with the low
      rates I would be surprised if any of these meteors are actually seen.

      The Antihelion radiant is centered at 03:52 (058) +20. This position
      lies in western Taurus just 5 degrees southeast from the Pleiades
      cluster. The bright planet Saturn is also a good guide as it lies only 3
      degrees south this central position. This area of the sky is best placed
      on the meridian near 0100 local standard time. The Taurid radiant are
      now peaking in activity so as many as 5 meteors per hour may appear from
      this source. These meteors will all appear slow no matter where they
      appear in the sky. For those who report to the IMO the meteors from
      northeastern Aries and northwestern Taurus should be labeled North
      Taurids (NTA) and those meteors from southwestern Taurus and
      southeastern Aries should be labeled South Taurids (STA).

      The Orionids are now well past maximum activity but still producing a
      few shower members each hour when located high in the sky. The radiant
      position now lies at 07:00 (105) +17 which is in southern Gemini between
      the bright stars Gamma and Lambda Geminorum. The radiant is not sharp
      and there have been suggestions that subradiants are active nearby. The
      radiant rises near 2100 LST (9:00 pm) but is best seen during the last
      few hours before dawn when it lies high in the southern sky as seen from
      northern latitudes. The Orionids are normally swift meteors but those
      seen near the radiant or near the horizon will appear to travel more
      slowly.

      The Zeta Puppids is another radiant listed among the showers of the
      Dutch Meteor Society. The current radiant position is 07:24 (111) -40.
      This position is in central Puppis 15 degrees northeast of the brilliant
      star Canopus. Due to the southerly declination this shower would be
      better seen from the Southern Hemisphere. It reaches its highest
      elevation near 0400 so this would be the best time to try to see any
      activity. This week the hourly rates could be near 2 for observers south
      of the equator and less than 1 for observers in the north temperate
      areas. Shower members would be slow if seen near the radiant or horizon
      and medium speed if seen far from the radiant or high in the sky.

      The Northern Apex is now located at 08:52 (133) +32. This position lies
      in extreme northern Cancer. Since this radiant is diffuse any meteors
      from the southern portion of Lynx, northeastern Gemini, northwestern
      Leo, or northern Cancer would be a good candidate. As seen from the
      Northern Hemisphere this source should still be quite active producing
      4-5 meteors per hour near dawn. From the Southern Hemisphere this source
      would be much lower in the sky and only producing 1-2 meteors per hour.

      The Southern Apex source lies exactly 30 degrees south of its northern
      counterpart at 08:52 (133) +02. This position lies in northwestern Hydra
      just a few degrees south of the "head" of the water serpent. Any swift
      meteor from western Hydra or southern Cancer has a good chance of being
      from this source. As seen from the Northern Hemisphere this source
      should produce 2-3 meteors per hour near dawn. Similar rates would be
      seen from the Southern Hemisphere.

      The Sporadic rates for the Northern Hemisphere are near their annual
      maximum. The expected evening rates would be 2-3 per hour with
      interference from the waxing moon. During the dark morning hours rates
      could be as high as 10 as seen from rural sites. From the Southern
      Hemisphere sporadic rates are at their annual low. This would correspond
      to roughly 50-75% of the northern hourly rates.

      Clear Skies!
      Robert Lunsford
      IMO Secretary General
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