Meteor Activity Outlook for November 24-30, 2012

The following is a slightly edited version of Bob Lunsford’s excellent weekly summary of meteor activity. The original version can be found at the American Meteor Society’s site.

As seen from the northern hemisphere, meteor rates continue to be strong in November. While no major activity is expected this month, the two Taurid radiants plus the Leonids keep the skies active. The addition of strong sporadic rates make November one of the better months to view meteor activity from north of the equator. Skies are fairly quiet as seen from the
southern hemisphere this month. Activity from the three showers mentioned above may be seen from south of the equator, but the sporadic rates are much lower than those seen in the northern hemisphere.

During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Wednesday November 28th. At this time the moon is located opposite the sun and will remain in the sky all night long. This weekend the waxing gibbous moon will set during the early morning hours and will allow a couple of hours between moon set and morning twilight to view the meteor activity under good conditions. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near three for observers located at mid-northern latitudes and two for observers in mid-southern latitudes. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near eighteen from the mid-northern hemisphere and ten from the mid-southern hemisphere. 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. Rates are reduced during this period due to moonlight.

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 November 24/25. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

The following radiants are expected to be active this week:

Remnants from the famous Andromedid (AND) shower, noted for intense storms during the 19th century, may still be seen throughout November. The current position of this large radiant is 01:38 (024) +41. This position lies in eastern Andromeda, close to the position occupied by the faint stat known as Upsilon Andromedae. The radiant is so diffuse that Andromedid meteors may be seen coming from Triangulum, northern Pisces, as well as Andromeda. Visual activity is expected to be low, but detectable. An inconspicuous maximum occurred on November 9, when this source was the 5th most active radiant in the sky. The Andromedid meteors are best seen near 2200 (10pm) local standard time (LST), when the radiant lies on the meridian and lies highest in the sky. At 19km/sec., the average Andromedid will appear as a very slow moving meteor.

Studies of the IMO video database by Sirko Molau and Juergen Rendtel has revealed another active radiant in Taurus this time of year. Now that the Southern Taurids are no longer detectable, the Gamma Taurids (GTA) may be distinguished within the Taurid complex. The Gamma Taurid radiant is centered at 04:22 (065) +15. This area of the sky lies in western Taurus, three degrees southwest of the orange first magnitude star Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri). The radiant is best placed near 0100 LST, when it lies highest above the horizon. Maximum activity occurred on November 10th so current rates would be near one shower member per hour, no matter your location. Meteors from the Gamma Taurids strike the atmosphere at 27km/sec., which would produce meteors of slow velocity.

The Northern Taurids (NTA) are active from a radiant centered at 04:40 (070) +25. This area of the sky lies in northern Taurus, nine degrees north of the orange first magnitude star Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri). The radiant is best placed near 0100 LST, when it lies highest above the horizon. Maximum activity occurred on November 13th so current hourly rates would be near two from the northern hemisphere and one from south of the equator. Meteors from the Northern Taurids strike the atmosphere at 29km/sec., which would produce meteors of slow velocity.

The November Orionids (NOO) are now the most active radiant in the sky and will remain #1 throughout the remainder of November. This radiant is located at 05:50 (087) +15. This area of the sky is located on the Orion/Taurus border, eight degrees north of the first magnitude orange star Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis). The peak occurs on November 30th so current rates will be 2-3 per hour, no matter your location. If the moon lies above the horizon rates will be lower due to the lunar glare. The radiant is best placed for viewing near 0200 LST when it lies on the meridian and is highest above the horizon. With an entry velocity of 44 km/sec., the November Orionids would be of medium speed.

The Leonids (LEO) are still active from a radiant located at 10:34 (159) +20. This position lies in northwestern Leo, two degrees east of the second magnitude double star Algeiba (Gamma Leonis). Current rates should be 1-2 per hour, no matter your location. The Leonid radiant is best placed during the last hour before morning twilight when the radiant lies highest in a dark sky. Leonids may be seen from the southern hemisphere but the viewing conditions are not quite as favorable as those north of the equator.

Studies of the IMO video database by Sirko Molau and Juergen Rendtel has revealed an active radiant in Draco this time of year. The November Iota Draconids (NID) radiant is located at 12:44 (191) +68. This area of the sky lies in western Draco, two degrees southeast of the fourth magnitude star Kappa Draconis. The radiant is best placed near 0100 LST, when it lies highest above the horizon. Maximum activity occurs on November 26th so current rates would be less than one shower member per hour, no matter your location. Due to the high northerly declination of the radiant these meteors are not visible from most of the southern hemisphere. Only southern equatorial regions would have any chance of seeing activity from this source Meteors from the November Iota Draconids strike the atmosphere at 43km/sec., which would produce meteors of medium velocity.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately ten sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near three per hour. As seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45S), morning rates would be near five per hour as seen from rural observing sites and two per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures. Evening rates are reduced due to moonlight.

The list below presents a condensed version of the expected activity this week.
Rates and positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning but may be used
for the entire period.

Andromedids (AND) – 01:38 (024) +41   Velocity – 19km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.

Gamma Taurids (GTA) – 04:22 (065) +15   Velocity – 29km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – 1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hr.

Northern Taurids (NTA) – 04:40 (070) +25   Velocity – 29km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – 2 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hr.

November Orionids (NOO) – 05:50 (087) +15   Velocity – 44km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – 3 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 2 per hr.

Leonids (LEO) – 10:34 (159) +20   Velocity – 71km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – 2 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hr.

November Iota Draconids (NID – 12:44 (191) +68   Velocity – 43km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere -<1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.

Clear Skies!
Robert Lunsford
American Meteor Society

Meteor Activity Outlook for November 10-16, 2012

The following is a slightly edited version of Bob Lunsford’s excellent weekly summary of meteor activity. The original version can be found at the American Meteor Society’s site.

As seen from the northern hemisphere, meteor rates continue to be strong in November. While no major activity is expected this month, the two Taurid radiants plus the Leonids keep the skies active. The addition of strong sporadic rates make November one of the better months to view meteor activity from north of the equator. Skies are fairly quiet as seen from the
southern hemisphere this month. Activity from the three showers mentioned above may be seen from south of the equator, but the sporadic rates are much lower than those seen in the northern hemisphere.

During this period the moon reaches its new phase on Tuesday November 13th. At this time the moon is located near the sun and cannot be seen at night. This weekend the waning crescent moon will rise during the late morning hours, but it will rise so late and be so thin that it will not interfere with meteor observing. As the week progresses the moon will enter the evening sky but will set shortly after dusk, not causing any problems for watching meteor activity. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near five for observers located at mid-northern latitudes and three for observers in mid-southern latitudes. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near twenty from the mid-northern hemisphere and twelve from the mid-southern hemisphere. 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.

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 November 10/11. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

The following radiants are expected to be active this week:

Remnants from the famous Andromedid (AND) shower, noted for intense storms during the 19th century, may still be seen throughout November. The current position of this large radiant is 01:32 (023) +31 . This position lies on the Pisces/Triangulum border, very close to the large, but faint spiral galaxy known as M33. If you are not familiar with M33, then the nearest bright star is second magnitude Mirach (Beta Andromedae), which lies five degrees to the northwest. The radiant is so diffuse that Andromedid meteors may be seen coming from southern Andromeda, Triangulum, and northwestern Aries as well as eastern Pisces. Visual activity is expected to be low, but detectable. An inconspicuous maximum occurs on November 9, when this source is the 5th most active radiant in the sky. The Andromedid meteors are best seen near 2200 (10pm) local standard time (LST), when the radiant lies on the meridian and lies highest in the sky. At 19km/sec., the average Andromedid will appear as a v
ery slow moving meteor.

The Northern Taurid (NTA) radiant is the most active source of meteor activity this week, producing 3-4 shower members per hour, depending on your location. The radiant is centered at 03:52 (058) +22. This area of the sky lies in  western Taurus just one degree south of the famous naked eye open cluster known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. The radiant is best placed near 0100 LST, when it lies highest above the horizon. Meteors from the Northern Taurids strike the atmosphere at 29km/sec., which would produce meteors of slow velocity. You must face in the general direction of the north and south Taurid radiants in order to tell them apart.

The Southern Taurid (STA) radiant is currently located at 04:00 (060) +15. This position lies in western Taurus, eight degrees southeast of the famous naked eye open cluster known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. This radiant is also best placed near 0100 LST, when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Maximum occurred on October 9th, so rates would now be near two per hour , no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 29 km/sec., the average Southern Taurid meteor would be of slow velocity.

The November Orionids (NOO) may be seen in small numbers beginning this week. The peak for this radiant is not until November 30th, so rates would be less than than one shower member per hour, no matter your location. The radiant is located at 05:08 (077) +16. This area of the sky is located on the Orion/Taurus border, seven degrees east of the first magnitude orange star Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri). This location is close to the Taurid complex, but far enough east to be distinguishable. The faster velocity of the November should help distinguish these meteors from the slower, but more numerous Taurids. The radiant is best placed for viewing near 0200 LST when it lies on the meridian and is highest above the horizon. With an entry velocity of 44 km/sec., the November Orionids would be of medium speed.

The Orionids (ORI) are still active but rates are slowing falling with each passing night. The radiant located at 07:28 (112) +16. This area of the sky is located in southern Gemini, twelve degrees east of the second magnitude star Alhena (Gamma Geminorum). The radiant is best placed for viewing near 0400 LST when it lies on the meridian and is highest above the horizon. Orionid meteors are equally well seen either side of the equator. With an entry velocity of 67 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be swift.

Studies of the IMO video database by Sirko Molau and Juergen Rendtel has revealed a radiant active in the constellation of Cancer this time of year. Rates are weak but detectable under moonless skies. The Zeta Cancrids (ZCN) are active throughout November but activity dates and radiant positions are poorly determined. During this period the radiant lies near 08:24 (126) +08.  This area of the sky is located in southern Cancer, one degree southeast of the third magnitude star Al Tarf (Beta Cancri). This area of the sky may be more easier found using the “head” of Hydra as a guide, as it lies only five degrees to the southeast. The radiant is best placed for viewing near 0500 LST when it lies on the meridian and is highest above the horizon.  With an entry velocity of 70 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be swift. These meteors can be seen equally well from either side of the equator.

The Leonids (LEO) are now the second most active radiant in the sky, producing 1-2 shower members per hour during the last couple of hours before dawn. The radiant is currently located at 10:00 (150) +24. This position lies in northwestern Leo, within the “sickle” of Leo, three degrees west of the third magnitude star Adhafera (Zeta Leonis). The Leonid radiant is best placed during the last hour before morning twilight when the radiant lies highest in a dark sky. Leonids may be seen from the southern hemisphere but the viewing conditions are not quite as favorable as those north of the equator.

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

The list below presents a summary of the expected activity this week. Rates and
positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning, but may be used all week.

Andromedids (AND) – 01:32 (023) +31    Velocity 19km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 1 per hr    Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hour

Northern Taurids (NTA) – 03:52 (058) +22    Velocity 29km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 4 per hr    Southern Hemisphere – 3 per hour

Southern Taurids (STA) -04:00 (060) +15    Velocity 29km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 2 per hr    Southern Hemisphere – 2 per hour

November Orionids (NOO)  05:08 (077) +16   Velocity 44km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr    Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hour

Orionids (ORI) 07:28 (112) +16    Velocity 67km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 1 per hr    Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hour

Zeta Cancrids (ZCN)  08:24 (126) +08    Velocity 70km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr    Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hour

Leonids (LEO) 10:00 (150) +24    Velocity 71km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 2 per hr    Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hour

Clear Skies!
Robert Lunsford
American Meteor Society

Meteor Activity Outlook for November 3-9, 2012

The following is a slightly edited version of Bob Lunsford’s excellent weekly summary of meteor activity. The original version can be found at the American Meteor Society’s site.

As seen from the northern hemisphere, meteor rates continue to be strong in November. While no major activity is expected this month, the two Taurid radiants plus the Leonids keep the skies active. The addition of strong sporadic rates make November one of the better months to view meteor activity from north of the equator. Skies are fairly quiet as seen from the
southern hemisphere this month. Activity from the three showers mentioned above may be seen from south of the equator, but the sporadic rates are much lower than those seen in the northern hemisphere.

During this period the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Wednesday November 7th. At this time the moon is located ninety degrees west of the sun and well rise near 2300 (11pm) local standard time (LST). This weekend the waning gibbous moon will rise during the late evening hours and will interfere with meteor observing the remainder of the night. As the week progresses the moon will rise later and later, becoming less of a nuisance with each passing night. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near four for observers located at mid-northern latitudes and three for observers in mid-southern latitudes. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near fourteen from the mid-northern hemisphere and eight from the mid-southern hemisphere. 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. Rates during the morning hours are reduced this week due to moonlight.

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 November 3/4. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

The following radiants are expected to be active this week:

Remnants from the famous Andromedid (AND) shower, noted for intense storms during the 19th century, may still be seen throughout November. The current position of this large radiant is 01:24 (021) +23 . This position lies in eastern Pisces, ten degrees west of the second magnitude star Hamal (Alpha Arietis). The radiant is so diffuse that Andromedid meteors may be seen coming from southern Andromeda, Triangulum, and northwestern Aries as well as eastern Pisces. Visual activity is expected to be low, but detectable. An inconspicuous maximum occurs on November 9, when this source is the 5th most active radiant in the sky. The Andromedid meteors are best seen near 2200 LST, when the radiant lies on the meridian and lies highest in the sky. At 19km/sec., the average Andromedid will appear as a very slow moving meteor.

The Northern Taurids (NTA) are now active from a large radiant centered at 03:28 (052) +21. This area of the sky lies on the Aries/Taurus border, five degrees southwest of the famous naked eye open cluster known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. The radiant is best placed near 0100 LST, when it lies highest above the horizon. Maximum activity is not expected until November 13, so current rates would be 2-3 per hour, no matter your location. Meteors from the Northern Taurids strike the atmosphere at 29km/sec., which would produce meteors of slow velocity.  You must face in the general direction of the north and south Taurid radiants in order to tell them apart.

The Southern Taurid (STA) radiant is currently located at 03:36 (054) +13. This position lies in western Taurus, ten degrees south of the famous naked eye open cluster known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. This radiant is best placed near 0100 LST, when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Maximum occurred on October 9th, so rates would now be near one per hour when the radiant lies high in the sky. With an entry velocity of 29 km/sec., the average Southern Taurid meteor would be of slow velocity.

The Orionids (ORI) are still the second most active shower this upcoming week producing up to two shower members per hour from a radiant located at 07:04 (106) +16. This area of the sky is located in southern Gemini, five degrees east of the second magnitude star Alhena (Gamma Geminorum). The radiant is best placed for viewing near 0400 LST when it lies on the meridian and is highest above the horizon. Orionid meteors are equally well seen either side of the equator. With an entry velocity of 67 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be swift.

The Leonids (LEO) are actually active in small numbers during the morning hours in early November. The radiant is currently located at 09:36 (144) +28. This position lies in  northwestern Leo,  four degrees northwest of the fourth magnitude star Mu Leonis. Rates are only one per hour at best but will increase as the moon exits the morning sky. The Leonid radiant is best placed during the last hour before morning twilight when the radiant lies highest in a dark sky. Leonids may be seen from the southern hemisphere but the viewing conditions are not quite as favorable as those north of the equator.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately seven sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near three per hour. As seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45S), morning rates would be near three per hour as seen from rural observing sites and two per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures. Rates during the morning hours are reduced this week due to moonlight.

The list below presents a summary of the expected activity this week. Rates and
positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning, but may be used all week.

Andromedids (AND) – 01:24 (021) +23   Velocity 19km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 1 per hr   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hour

Northern Taurids (NTA) – 03:28 (052) +21   Velocity 29km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 3 per hr   Southern Hemisphere – 2 per hour

Southern Taurids (STA) – 03:36 (054) +13   Velocity 29km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 1 per hr   Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hour

Orionids (ORI) 07:04 (106) +16   Velocity 67km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 2 per hr   Southern Hemisphere – 2 per hour

Leonids (LEO) 09:36 (144) +28   Velocity 71km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hour

Clear Skies!
Robert Lunsford
American Meteor Society

In the Transient Sky – November 2012

November 2012 Highlights
* Leonid meteor shower peaks on the morning of November 17 though rates will be low
* Jupiter and the Moon pair up on the evenings of the 1st and 28th
* Venus and Saturn pair up on the morning of the 26th-27th
* Venus, Mercury and Saturn are all visible in a line at the end of the month

Note: If anyone has pictures or observations of these objects/events and want to share them with my readers, send them to the Transient Sky at <transientsky1@yahoo.com>.

Planets

Evening Planets

Mercury – Mercury starts the month very low in the southwest after dusk. It is probably too low for most observers. Luckily it appears in the morning at the end of the month.

Mars - Mars glows at a rather meager +1.2 magnitude this month low in the southwest after dusk. It is only visible for anout an hour after sunset as it continues its slow descent towards the horizon. Use the Moon to find Mars on the evenings of the 15th and 16th.

Jupiter – Jupiter is heading towards its December 2nd opposition. At the start of the month it rises in the northeast around 7:30 to 8:00 pm. On the evening of the first, it makes a spectacular pair with the Moon between the horns of Taurus. The two pair up again on the evening of the 28th. At magnitude -2.6 to -2.7 it is the brightest “star” in the sky with the exception of early morning Venus.

Morning Planets

Venus – Venus rises about 2 hours before the Sun this month. In a telescope the planet will appear more than half-illuminated (about 80%). At magnitude – 4.1, Venus is by far the brightest ‘star’ in the morning sky. This November Venus makes a close pairing with the star Theta Virginis on the 12th and 13th, a more distant pairing with 1st magnitude Spica on the 17th and a rather close pairing with Saturn on the 26th and 27th. The Moon also passes to the south of Venus on the morning of the 11th. During the last week of November, Venus, Saturn and Mercury

Saturn – Saturn is an early morning object. Venus passes very close to Saturn on the mornings of the 26th and 27th.

Mercury – The innermost planet pops above the southeast horizon just before dawn during the last week of the month. It is the lower left planet in a line made up of Saturn-Venus-Mercury.

Meteors

The year is usually split in 2 with January through June having low rates with few major showers while July through December have high rates with many major showers. Meteor activity is still near an annual this month.

Sporadic Meteors

Sporadic meteors are not part of any known meteor shower. They represent the background flux of meteors. Except for the few days per year when a major shower is active, most meteors that are observed are Sporadics. This is especially true for meteors observed during the evening. During November mornings, 10 or so Sporadic meteors can be observed per hour from a dark moonless sky.

Major Meteor Showers

Leonids (LEO) [Max Date = Nov. 17, Max ZHR = ~10-15 per hour]

The Leonids are the result of dust released by Comet Tempel-Tuttle. The comet resides on an orbit that spans from just inside the orbit of the Earth (0.98 AU) to slightly beyond the orbit of Uranus (19.7 AU). It takes the comet ~33 years to orbit the Sun. The the comet last passed perihelion (closest distance to the Sun) in 1998 and was well observed at that time.

The first recorded appearance of the Leonids was in 902 AD when the shower was seen from Italy and Egypt. For the next few centuries, impressive Leonid displays were observed every 33 to 200 years or so.

Two Leonid storms stand out from all the others. On 1833 November 13, the entire eastern United States was awaken to a sight very few had every seen. The sky appeared to be filled with meteors. Modern researchers now know the cause of this outburst. It is estimated that a rate of up to ~70,000 meteors per hour was observed. That works out to ~20 meteor per second.

The 1833 storm marks the dawning of the modern age of meteor science. It was due to observations of this storm that astronomers first recognized that meteors originate in space. About 30 years later, after the discovery of Comets Swift-Tuttle (parent of the Perseids) and Tempel-Tuttle (the parent of the Leonids), the connection between comets and meteor showers was made.

The 1833 storm ranks as one of the 2 best meteor displays in recorded history. 133 years after the 1833 storm, the Leonids once again set the skies ablaze. On the night of 1966 November 17, the western United States experienced a storm just as strong as the 1833 storm.

When the comet returned in 1998, there were many predictions for spectacular Leonid activity. Though meteor rates never got close to that seen in 1833 or 1966, rates as high as a few thousand meteors per hour were observed in multiple years. The best meteor shower I have ever seen was the 1998 Leonid fireball display. Though I would observe Leonid displays with much higher rates of meteors, the sheer number of extremely bright meteors in 1998 was breathtaking.

Unfortunately no major display is forecast for 2012. Rather rates should be a meager 10-15 per hour for observers under dark skies.

 

The Leonids appear to come from an area in the “sickle” of Leo. This area, called the radiant, rises around midnight local time. It is best to wait till the radiant is high in the sky before looking for meteors (say 2am). The radiant is highest around the start of dawn. Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky so you don’t have to look at the radiant.

Minor Meteor Showers

Minor showers produce so few meteors that they are hard to notice above the background of regular meteors. Info on many minor showers are provided on a weekly basis by Robert Lunsford’s Meteor Activity Outlook.

Additional information on these showers and other minor showers not included here can be found at the International Meteor Organization’s 2012 Meteor Shower Calendar.

Comets

Naked Eye Comets (V < 6.0)

None this month.

Binocular Comets (V = 6.0 – 8.0)

None this month

Small Telescope Comets (V = 8.0 – 10.0)

168P/Hergenrother

The surprise comet of the year, little 168P was only expected to brighten to magnitude 15 or so this apparition even though it passed within 0.42 AU of the Earth and 1.41 AU of the Sun in late October/early November. A number of outbursts and splitting events resulted in 168P brightening up to 9th magnitude. Recent large telescope observations have detected a secondary nucleus which split off from the main nucleus during on of the outbursts.

As of the 1st of the month, 168P is probably a little fainter than 10th magnitude as it slowly fades after its last outburst. Hopefully another outburst will occur and push the comet back into the realm of small telescope observation.

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