Meteor Activity Outlook for December 29-January 4, 2013

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.

During this period the moon wanes from its current full phase to a little more than one-half illuminated on January 4, 2013.  This weekend the waning gibbous moon will rise during the early evening hours and will effectively ruin the sky with intense moonlight the remainder of the night. As the week progresses the moon will rise a little later each evening but the more active morning hours will still be compromised by moonlight. The strong Quadrantid meteor shower will peak on Thursday morning January 3rd, with a bright gibbous moon located near the Leo-Virgo border. Activity can be still seen from the Quadrantids if your skies are clear and transparent. It would also be wise to keep the moon out of your field of view by facing the north to east quadrant of the sky. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near two for observers located at mid-northern latitudes and one for observers in mid-southern latitudes. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near five from the mid-northern hemisphere and three 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 entire period due to intense 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 December 29/30. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

The table below presents a condensed version of the expected activity this week. Rates and positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning . Details of each shower will again be provided next week when the situation with moonlight improves.

Antihelions (ANT) – 07:24 (111) +21   Velocity – 30km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – 1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Alpha Hydrids (AHY) – 08:12 (123) -07   Velocity – 45km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

January Leonids (JLE) – 09:48 (147) +25   Velocity – 45km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

December Leonis Minorids (DLM) – 11:20 (170) +26   Velocity – 64km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Coma Berenicids (COM) – 12:20 (185) +13   Velocity – 69km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Dec. Sigma Virginids (DSV) – 14:16 (214) +02    Velocity – 44km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Quadrantids (QUA) – 15:24 (231) +49   Velocity – 42km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr. Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Clear Skies!
Robert Lunsford
American Meteor Society

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About Carl Hergenrother
I am a professional astronomer specializing in the study of comets, asteroids and meteors. This blog will focus on my professional and amateur work in this field

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