Meteor Activity Outlook for February 15-21, 2014

The Meteor Activity Outlook for the period 2014 February 15-21 has been posted by Bob Lunsford on the American Meteor Society website.

The Outlook has details on meteors from the Antihelion region and the following showers: Alpha Centaurids (ACE), Beta Herculids (BHE) and the Delta Serpentids (DSE).

Beginning of February Meteors

If January was warm and clear in southern Arizona, February is turning out to be warmer but cloudier. Over the past ten nights, nearly ever one has been affected by clouds to some extent. Last night (Feb 9/10) was the clearest and as a result a large number of meteors were detected.

February is sort of a slow month for meteors. There are no major showers active and many of the minor showers are very minor. Still there has been some good activity lately and at least 3 showers were active this past week.

The Pi Hydrids (PIH) are from an unknown long-period comet with a perihelion of 0.89 AU and inclination of 162° and strike Earth’s upper atmosphere at ~71 km/s. This shower was first announced by Peter Jenniskens in his excellent 2006 book ‘Meteor Showers and Their Parent Bodies’.

The February Epsilon Virginids (FEV) are similar to the PIH in that they are the result of an unknown long-period comet. The FEVs are on an orbit with a perihelion of 0.49 AU and inclination of 138° resulting in a fast velocity of 63 km/s. This shower was only announced last year by Steakley and Jenniskens.

The Alpha Centaurids are a far southern shower that has been known for over 50 years. They also have high inclination orbits (107°). Perihelion is just inside the orbit of Earth at 0.98 AU and their velocity is ~59 km/s.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT ACB ACE FEV PIH
SAL  2014-02-10   11h 55m   27  24  3   -   -   -   0
SAL  2014-02-09   10h 48m   17  15  1   -   -   0   1
SAL  2014-02-08   11h 51m   13  8   4   -   -   0   1
SAL  2014-02-07   02h 57m   7   5   2   -   -   0   0
SAL  2014-02-06   10h 32m   12  10  0   -   0   0   2
SAL  2014-02-05   05h 20m   5   5   0   0   0   0   0
SAL  2014-02-04   10h 02m   19  15  2   0   0   2   -
SAL  2014-02-03   03h 48m   7   5   1   0   1   0   -
SAL  2014-02-02   07h 04m   11  8   1   0   1   1   -
SAL  2014-02-01   00h 00m      * * * CLOUDS * * *

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
Time - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
ACB - Alpha Coronae Borealids
ACE - Alpha Centaurids
FEV - February Epsilon Virginids
PIH - Pi Hydrids

Meteor Activity for February 8-14, 2014

The Meteor Activity Outlook for the period 2014 January 18-24 has been posted by Bob Lunsford on the American Meteor Society website.

The Outlook has details on meteors from the Antihelion region and the following showers: daytime meteors from comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova (unnamed shower), Alpha Centaurids (ACE), and the Beta Herculids (BHE).

Meteor Activity Outlook for January 25-31

The Meteor Activity Outlook for the period 2014 January 18-24 has been posted by Bob Lunsford on the American Meteor Society website.

The Outlook has details on meteors from the Antihelion region and the following showers: January Comae Berencids (JCO), Alpha Centaurids (ACE), Alpha Coronae Borealids (ACB) and the February Eta Draconids (FED).

Meteor Activity Outlook for February 16-22, 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.

February offers the meteor observer in the northern hemisphere a couple of weak showers plus falling sporadic rates. This may not seem too exiting but you never know when surprises are in store. An errant earth-grazer from the Centaurid complex may shoot northward. Better yet, a bright fireball may light up the sky. February is the start of the fireball season, when an abundance of fireballs seem to occur. This lasts well into April and seems to occur mostly during the early evening hours.

Observers in the southern hemisphere are treated to the Alpha Centaurid peak on the 8th plus the entire Centaurid complex of radiants is active all month long. Sporadic rates also peak this month south of the equator this month adding to the celestial show.

During this period the moon reaches its first quarter phase on Sunday February 17th. At this time the moon is located ninety degrees east of the sun and sets near midnight local standard time (LST) as seen from mid-northern latitudes. As the week progresses the waxing gibbous moon will set during the early morning hours, allowing a few hours of dark skies between the time of moon set and the beginning of morning twilight. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near two as seen from the northern hemisphere and four as seen from south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near eight from the mid-northern hemisphere and seventeen 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. Evening 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 February 16/17. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

The following showers are expected to be active this week:

The large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently centered at 10:44 (161) +07. This position lies in southern Leo, ten degrees southeast of the first magnitude star Regulus (Alpha Leonis). These meteors may be seen all night long but the radiant is best placed near 0100 LST when it lies on the meridian and is highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near one per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Antihelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

The Alpha Centaurids (ACE) are active from a radiant located at 14:43 (221) -62. This position lies in southeastern Centaurus, very close to the position occupied by the zero magnitude star Rigel Kentaurus (Alpha Centauri). These meteors cannot be seen north of the northern tropical regions. They are best seen from mid-southern latitudes where the radiant lies high in the sky near 0500 local summer time. This shower peaked on February 8th so current rates would be near one per hour as seen from the southern hemisphere. At 56km/sec. the Alpha Centaurids would produce mostly swift meteors.

The Beta Herculids are active through Tuesday from a radiant located at 15:52 (238) +28. This position is actually located in Corona Borealis, four degrees northeast of the second magnitude star Alphecca (Alpha Coronae Borealis). It is suggested that the observer be liberal with shower association as the actual radiant position is not well defined. These meteors are best seen near during the last dark hour before dawn when the radiant lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Rates would mostly likely be less than one shower member per hour, no matter your location. Observers in the northern hemisphere have an advantage in that the radiant lies higher in the sky during the morning hours. At 56 km/sec. the Beta Herculids would produce mostly swift meteors.

The IMO video list of radiants has several entries for the Delta Serpentids (DSE). On most nights of possible activity this shower is extremely weak, far less than the weak sporadic rate seen this time of year from the northern hemisphere. On the morning of the February 16th though, it becomes the second most active radiant in the sky. At that time the radiant is located at 16:37 (249) +09, which actually places it in among the stars of Ophiuchus. The nearest bright stars are fourth magnitude Kappa and Iota Ophiuchi, which lie six degrees to the east. This position is well seen from either side of the equator. These meteors are best seen near during the last dark hour before dawn when the radiant lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. On other mornings rates for this shower are so weak that the chance of sporadic alignment is extremely high. At 57 km/sec. the Delta Serpentids would produce mostly swift meteors.

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

Anthelions (ANT) – 10:44 (161) +07   Velocity – 30km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – 1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hr

Alpha Centaurids (ACE) – 14:43 (221) -62   Velocity – 56km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hr

Beta Herculids (BHE) – 15:52 (238) +28   Velocity – 56km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Delta Serpentids (DSE) – 16:37 (249) +09   Velocity – 57km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – 1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hr

Clear Skies!
Robert Lunsford
American Meteor Society

Meteor Activity Outlook for February 9-15, 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.

February offers the meteor observer in the northern hemisphere a couple of weak showers plus falling sporadic rates. This may not seem too exiting but you never know when surprises are in store. An errant earth-grazer from the Centaurid complex may shoot northward. Better yet, a bright fireball may light up the sky. February is the start of the fireball season, when an abundance of fireballs seem to occur. This lasts well into April and seems to occur mostly during the early evening hours.

Observers in the southern hemisphere are treated to the Alpha Centaurid peak on the 8th plus the entire Centaurid complex of radiants is active all month long. Sporadic rates also peak this month south of the equator this month adding to the celestial show.

During this period the moon reaches its new phase on Sunday February 10th. At this time the moon is located near the sun and is invisible at night. As the week progresses the waxing crescent moon will enter the evening sky but will not interfere with meteor observing. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near three as seen from the northern hemisphere and five as seen from south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near nine from the mid-northern hemisphere and eighteen 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 February 9/10. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

The following showers are expected to be active this week:

The large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently centered at 10:16 (154) +09. This position lies in southwestern Leo, three degrees southeast of the first magnitude star Regulus (Alpha Leonis). These meteors may be seen all night long but the radiant is best placed near 0100 LST when it lies on the meridian and is highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near two per hour as seen from the northern hemisphere and one per hour from south of the equator. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Antihelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

The Alpha Centaurids (ACE) are active from a radiant located at 14:10 (212) -60. This position lies in southeastern Centaurus, very close to the position occupied by the first magnitude star Hadar (Beta Centauri). These meteors cannot be seen north of the northern tropical regions. They are best seen from mid-southern latitudes where the radiant lies high in the sky near 0500 local summer time. This shower peaked on February 8th so current rates would be near three per hour as seen from the southern hemisphere. At 56km/sec. the Alpha Centaurids would produce mostly swift meteors.

Activity from the Beta Herculids begins on Wednesday morning February 13th. This also happens to be the morning of maximum activity. This shower was discovered by Juergen Rendtel and Sirko Molau using data from the IMO video database. This shower is active from the 13th through the 19th. On the 13th the radiant is located at 16:27 (247) +24. This position is located in western Hercules, three degrees north of the third magnitude star Kornephoros (Beta Herculis). These meteors are best seen near during the last dark hour before dawn when the radiant lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Rates would mostly likely be less than one shower member per hour, no matter your location. At 56 km/sec. the Beta Herculids would produce mostly swift meteors.

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 two per hour. As seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45S), morning rates would be near fourteen per hour as seen from rural observing sites and four per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.

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

Anthelions (ANT) – 10:16 (154) +09   Velocity – 30km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – 2 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hr

Alpha Centaurids (ACE) – 14:10 (212) -60   Velocity – 56km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 3 per hr

Beta Herculids (BHE) – 16:27 (247) +24  Velocity – 56km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Clear Skies!
Robert Lunsford
American Meteor Society

Meteor Activity Outlook for February 2-8, 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.

February offers the meteor observer in the northern hemisphere a couple of weak showers plus falling sporadic rates. This may not seem too exiting but you never know when surprises are in store. An errant earth-grazer from the Centaurid complex may shoot northward. Better yet, a bright fireball may light up the sky. February is the start of the fireball season, when an abundance of fireballs seem to occur. This lasts well into April and seems to occur mostly during the early evening hours.

Observers in the southern hemisphere are treated to the Alpha Centaurid peak on the 8th plus the entire Centaurid complex of radiants is active all month long. Sporadic rates also peak this month south of the equator this month adding to the celestial show.

During this period the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Sunday February 3rd. At this time the moon is located ninety degrees west of the sun. The half illuminated moon will rise near midnight local standard time and will remain in the sky the remainder of the night. While producing much less light than a full moon, the last quarter moon will still hamper meteor observations during the morning hours. If your skies are transparent meteor observers can simply face the opposite direction of the moon and still carry on successful observations. As the week progresses the moon will less of a problem as the phase wanes and it rises later in the morning with each passing night. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near three no matter your location. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near seven 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. Morning rates are reduced 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 February 2/3. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

The following showers are expected to be active this week:

The large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently centered at 09:48 (147) +11. This position lies in western Leo, four degrees west of the first magnitude star Regulus (Alpha Leonis). These meteors may be seen all night long but the radiant is best placed near 0100 LST when it lies on the meridian and is highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near two per hour as seen from the northern hemisphere and one per hour from south of the equator. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Antihelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

The Alpha Centaurids (ACE) are now active from a radiant located at 13:36 (204) -58. This position lies in southeastern Centaurus, five degrees northwest of the first magnitude star Hadar (Beta Centauri). These meteors cannot be seen north of the northern tropical regions. They are best seen from mid-southern latitudes where the radiant lies high in the sky near 0500 local summer time. As seen from the southern hemisphere rates will be rising this week and will peak on February 8th, when they should be near five per hour during the morning hours. At 56km/sec. the Alpha Centaurids would produce mostly swift meteors.

IMO Shower #22 is a weak unnamed shower active from January 29 through February 9. Peak activity occurs on February 8th from a radiant located at 13:42 (206) +09. This position is located in extreme southwestern Bootes, ten degrees southwest of the zero magnitude star Arcturus (Alpha Bootis). These meteors are best seen near 0400 LST, when the radiant lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Rates would mostly likely be less than one shower member per hour, no matter your location.  At 65 km/sec. IMO Shower #22 would produce mostly swift meteors. It is possible that these meteors are a continuation of the Coma Berenicids which were active In December and January.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately five sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near two per hour. As seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45S), morning rates would be near seven 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. Morning rates are reduced this week 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 .

Anthelions (ANT) – 09:48 (147) +11   Velocity – 30km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – 2 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hr

Alpha Centaurids (ACE) – 13:36 (204) -58   Velocity – 56km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr. Southern Hemisphere – 2 per hr

IMO #22- 13:42 (206) +09   Velocity – 65km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr. Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Clear Skies!
Robert Lunsford
American Meteor Society

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