Meteor Activity Outlook for April 5-11, 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: Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) and Delta Aquiliids (DAL).

Meteor Activity Outlook for April 6-13, 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.

Meteor activity picks up a bit during April as the Lyrids become active during the month. They are active from the 18th through the 25th, with a pronounced maximum on the 22nd. Sporadic rates during April are steady as seen from both hemispheres with southern observers enjoying twice the activity that can be seen from the mid-northern hemisphere.

During this period the moon reaches its new phase on Wednesday April 10th. At this time the moon is located near the sun and is not visible at night. This weekend the waning crescent moon will rise during the late morning hours but will be too thin to be much of a problem to meteor observers. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near three 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 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 April 6/7. 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 located at 14:00 (210) -12. This position lies in southeastern Virgo, very close to the position now occupied by the zero magnitude planet Saturn. These meteors may be seen all night long but the radiant is best placed near 0200 Local Daylight Time (LDT) when it lies on the meridian and is highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near two per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Anthelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

The Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) are active from March 22 through April 10, with maximum activity occurring on the morning of April 6th. This stream was first noticed by Z. Sekanina in a study of radio meteor streams. It has been recently verified in the IMO video database producing low activity during late March and early April. The radiant is currently located near 20:00 (300) +41. This position lies in western Cygnus, four degrees west of second magnitude Sadr, (Gamma Cygni). The radiant is best placed in a dark sky just before dawn. At 45km/sec. this shower would produce meteors of medium velocity.

Studies of the IMO video database by Sirko Molau and Juergen Rendtel has revealed a weak radiant active in the constellation of Cygnus this time of year. The Nu Cygnids (NCY) are active from April 2 through May 4 with maximum activity occurring on April 18. The current radiant position lies at 20:08 (302) +36. This position lies in central Cygnus, three degrees northeast of the fourth magnitude star known as Eta Cygni. This position is close to that of the Zeta Cygnid radiant so care must be taken to differentiate between the two showers. No matter your location, rates at this time are expected to be less than one per hour. At 42km/sec. the Nu Cygnids would produce meteors of average velocity.

The Delta Aquiliids (DAL) are active from April 5 through through the 13th, with maximum activity occurring on the morning of 11th. This stream was first noticed by Peter Jenniskens and is mentioned in his book Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets. It has been recently verified in the IMO video database producing low activity during the period mentioned above. The radiant is currently located near 20:24 (306) +11. This position actually lies in southwestern Delphinus, two degrees west of fourth magnitude star Epsilon Delphini. The radiant is best placed in a dark sky just before dawn. Rates are expected to be less than one per hour, even at maximum activity. At 66km/sec. this shower would produce meteors of swift velocity.

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 ten 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.

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) – 14:00 (210) -12   Velocity – 30km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – 2 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – 2 per hr

Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) – 20:00 (300) +41   Velocity – 45km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Nu Cygnids (NCY) – 20:08 (302) +36   Velocity – 42km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Delta Aquiliids (DAL) – 20:24 (306) +11   Velocity – 66km/sec.
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr.   Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hr

Clear Skies!
Robert Lunsford
American Meteor Society

Meteor Activity Outlook for April 7-13, 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.

Meteor activity picks up a bit during April as two major showers are active during the month. The first of these, the Lyrids, are active from the 16th through the 25th, with a pronounced maximum on the 22nd. The Eta Aquariids start appearing near the 28th and reach maximum activity during the first week in May. Sporadic rates are low but steady as seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45 N). Sporadic rates seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45 S) rise this month toward a maximum in July.

During this period the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Friday April 13th. At that time the moon will be located ninety degrees west of the sun and will rise near 0200 daylight saving time (DST) for observers situated in the mid-northern latitudes. This weekend the waning gibbous moon will rise during the early evening hours, effectively ruining the sky for nearly the entire night. This week is the worst time to try and view meteor activity during the month. Conditions will improve when the moon reaches its last quarter phase and continues to wane toward new. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near one for observers in the northern hemisphere and two for those south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near three as seen from mid-northern latitudes and six from mid-southern latitudes. 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 severe 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 April 7/8. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

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

Antihelion (ANT) – 14:04 (211) -12   Velocity 30km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 1 per hr Southern Hemisphere – 1 per hour

Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) 20:04 (301) +41   Velocity 44km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hour

Meteor Activity Outlook for March 31-April 6, 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.

Meteor activity picks up a bit during April as two major showers are active during the month. The first of these, the Lyrids, are active from the 16th through the 25th, with a pronounced maximum on the 22nd. The Eta Aquariids start appearing near the 28th and reach maximum activity during the first week in May. Sporadic rates are low but steady as seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45 N). Sporadic rates seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45 S) rise this month toward a maximum in July.

During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Friday April 6th. At that time the moon will be located opposite the sun and will be in the sky all night long. This weekend the waxing gibbous moon will set during the early morning hours, allowing a few hours of dark skies for observing before the start of morning twilight. This window of opportunity shrinks with each passing night until late in the week when the moon is near full and in the sky all night long. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near two for observers in the northern hemisphere and three for those south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near seven as seen from mid-northern latitudes and twelve from mid-southern latitudes. 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. Even 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 March 31/April 1. 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 Antihelion (ANT) radiant is currently located at 13:08 (204) -09. This position lies in central Virgo, four degrees northwest of the first magnitude star Spica (Alpha Virginis). Due to the large size of this radiant, Antihelion activity may also appear from the nearby constellations of Corvus, extreme eastern Hydra, southwestern Bootes, and northern Centaurus as well as Virgo. This radiant is best placed near 0200 local daylight time (LDT), when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near two per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Antihelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

Studies of the IMO video database by Sirko Molau and Juergen Rendtel has revealed a weak radiant active in the constellation of Cygnus this time of year. The Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) are active from March 27 through April 13 with maximum activity occurring on April 6. The current radiant position lies at 19:52 (298) +39. This position lies in central Cygnus, six degrees west of the second magnitude star Sadr (Gamma Cygni). The radiant is best placed during the last dark hour before dawn, when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Due to the northern declination of the radiant, this activity is not well seen from the southern hemisphere. No matter your location, rates at this time are expected to be less than one per hour. At 44km/sec. the Zeta Cygnids would produce meteors of average velocity.

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 one per hour. As seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45S), morning rates would be near ten 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 during this period 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.

Antihelion (ANT) – 13:08 (204) -09   Velocity 30km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 2 per hr Southern Hemisphere – 2 per hour

Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) 19:52 (298) +39   Velocity 44km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hour

Meteor Activity Outlook for March 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, March is the slowest month for meteor activity. No major annual showers are active and only two very weak minor showers produce activity this month. The sporadic rates are also near their annual minimum so there is not much to look forward to this month except for the evening fireballs that seem to peak this time of year from the northern hemisphere. This could be due to the fact the Antiapex radiant lies highest above the horizon this time of year during the evening hours. From the southern hemisphere, activity from the Centaurid complex begins to wane with only the weak activity visible from Norma and perhaps others areas nearby. At least southern sporadic rates are still strong to make the late summer viewing a bit more pleasurable.

During this period the moon reaches its first quarter phase on Friday March 30th. At that time the moon will be located ninety degrees east of the sun and will set near 0100 local daylight time as seen from the mid-northern latitudes. This weekend the waxing crescent moon will only be visible during the early evening hours and will not interfere with meteor observations. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near three for observers in the northern hemisphere and four for those south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near seven as seen from mid-northern latitudes and twelve from mid-southern latitudes. 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 March 24/25. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

The large Antihelion (ANT) radiant is currently located at 13:08 (197) -07. This position lies in southern Virgo, five degrees northwest of the first magnitude star Spica (Alpha Virginis). Due to the large size of this radiant, Antihelion activity may also appear from the nearby constellations of Crater, Corvus, extreme eastern Hydra and northern Centaurus as well as Virgo. This radiant is best placed near 0200 local daylight time (LDT), when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near two per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Antihelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

This weekend is prime time to try and view any activity from the Zeta Serpentids (ZSE). This shower is active on only five mornings with peak activity occurring on the 24th. Rates would likely be less than one shower member per hour, even at maximum activity. The radiant is located near 7:12 (258) -05. The area of the sky is located in a blank portion of central Ophiuchus, some eight degrees northeast of third magnitude Zeta Ophiuchi. The radiant is best placed during the last dark hour before dawn, when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. At 64km/sec. the Zeta Serpentids would produce mostly swift meteors.

Later in this period, activity from the Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) will begin. This activity is visible from March 27 through April 13 with maximum occurring on April 5. On the 27th the radiant position lies at 19:42 (295) +38. This position lies in western Cygnus, lying directly between the third magnitude stars Delta Cygni and Albireo (Beta Cygni). The radiant is best placed during the last dark hour before dawn, when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Due to the northern declination of the radiant, this activity is not well seen from the southern hemisphere. No matter your location, rates at this time are expected to be less than one per hour. At 44km/sec. the Zeta Cygnids would produce meteors of average velocity.

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 ten 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.

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

Antihelion (ANT) – 13:08 (197) -07   Velocity 30km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – 2 per hr Southern Hemisphere – 2 per hour

Zeta Serpentids (ZSE) 17:12 (258) -05  Velocity 64km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hour

Zeta Cygnids (ZCY)   19:42 (295) +38   Velocity 44km/sec
Northern Hemisphere – <1 per hr Southern Hemisphere – <1 per hour

 

April 1 – 10 Meteors

The first ten nights of April yielded a steady sprinkle of meteors. As is typical of a month with no major showers and few minor ones, most of the meteors were sporadics or antihelions. Less than 10% were associated with the only active shower, the relatively minor Zeta Cygnids (ZCY).

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT ZCY
SAL3 2011-04-10   00h 00m   Clouds
ALLS 2011-04-10   00h 00m   Clouds
SAL3 2011-04-09   00h 20m   1   1   0   0
ALLS 2011-04-09   07h 59m   2   1   1   0
SAL3 2011-04-08   09h 37m   13  12  1   0
ALLS 2011-04-08   10h 05m   7   3   3   1
SAL3 2011-04-07   02h 34m   5   3   1   1
ALLS 2011-04-07   01h 29m   5   3   1   1
SAL3 2011-04-06   01h 45m   5   5   0   0
ALLS 2011-04-06   10h 10m   3   3   0   0
SAL3 2011-04-05   09h 43m   12  7   4   1
ALLS 2011-04-05   10h 11m   8   6   1   1
SAL3 2011-04-04   09h 45m   13  10  3   0
ALLS 2011-04-04   10h 14m   9   6   3   0
SAL3 2011-04-04   00h 00m   Clouds
ALLS 2011-04-03   00h 00m   Clouds
SAL3 2011-04-02   06h 49m   14  10  3   1
ALLS 2011-04-02   07h 03m   7   7   0   0
SAL3 2011-04-01   08h 43m   12  8   2   2
ALLS 2011-04-01   08h 58m   8   6   0   2

SAL3 - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
ALLS - Near all-sky camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIST - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VISH - Visual observations from Hermosillo (Salvador Aguirre)
HERM - PARENI camera in Hermosillo (Salvador Aguirre)
SDG - Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
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
ZCY - Zeta Cygnids

Rest of March Meteors

March is usually one of the slowest months of the year for meteor watchers. Not only are there no major showers active, but sporadic rates are also low. Of the ~208 meteors detected by my 2 cameras over the 2nd half of March, only 5 were shower members 1 GNO, 1 ZSE and 3 ZCY). The only real excitement was on the night of March 28/29 when at least 3 meteors (and possibly 2 more that were not id’d as such by MetRec) were seen coming from a point near the expected radiant of the weak Zeta Cygnid shower.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT GNO ZSE ZCY
SAL3 2011-03-31   01h 43m   5   5   0   -   -   0
ALLS 2011-03-31   10h 22m   2   2   0   -   -   0
SAL3 2011-03-30   09h 55m   7   4   3   -   -   0
ALLS 2011-03-30   10h 24m   5   4   0   -   -   0
SAL3 2011-03-29   09h 44m   11  8   2   -   -   1
ALLS 2011-03-29   09h 59m   5   3   0   -   -   2
SAL3 2011-03-28   09h 59m   11  0   0   -   0   0
ALLS 2011-03-28   10h 22m   3   3   0   -   0   0
SAL3 2011-03-27   02h 32m   7   7   0   -   0   -
ALLS 2011-03-27   10h 30m   4   4   0   -   0   -
SAL3 2011-03-26   10h 02m   11  9   2   -   0   -
ALLS 2011-03-26   10h 31m   7   6   0   -   1   -
SAL3 2011-03-25   09h 44m   11  0   0   -   0   -
ALLS 2011-03-25   09h 58m   10  8   2   -   0   -
SAL3 2011-03-24   10h 08m   9   8   1   -   0   -
ALLS 2011-03-24   10h 36m   3   3   0   -   0   -
SAL3 2011-03-23   08h 12m   8   7   1   -   -   -
ALLS 2011-03-23   08h 25m   5   4   1   -   -   -
SAL3 2011-03-22   01h 40m   3   3   0   0   -   -
ALLS 2011-03-22   00h 00m   0   0   0   0   -   -
SAL3 2011-03-21   10h 05m   7   6   1   0   -   -
ALLS 2011-03-21   10h 25m   3   2   1   0   -   -
SAL3 2011-03-20   01h 59m   5   4   1   0   -   -
ALLS 2011-03-20   10h 44m   3   2   0   1   -   -
SAL3 2011-03-19   10h 17m   14  14  0   0   -   -
ALLS 2011-03-19   10h 47m   9   8   1   0   -   -
SAL3 2011-03-18   10h 20m   6   6   0   0   -   -
ALLS 2011-03-18   10h 48m   5   5   0   0   -   -
SAL3 2011-03-17   10h 22m   5   4   1   0   -   -
ALLS 2011-03-17   10h 50m   0   0   0   0   -   -
SAL3 2011-03-16   10h 24m   10  8   2   0   -   -
ALLS 2011-03-16   10h 49m   2   2   0   0   -   -
SAL3 2011-03-15   10h 26m   9   6   3   0   -   -
ALLS 2011-03-15   10h 54m   3   2   1   0   -   -

SAL3 - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
ALLS - Near all-sky camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIST - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VISH - Visual observations from Hermosillo (Salvador Aguirre)
HERM - PARENI camera in Hermosillo (Salvador Aguirre)
SDG - Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
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
GNO - Gamma Normids 
ZSE - Zeta Serpentids 
ZCY - Zeta Cygnids 

Meteor Activity Outlook for April 16-22, 2011

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.

Meteor activity picks up a bit during April as two major showers are active during the month. The first of these, the Lyrids, are active from the 16th through the 25th, with a pronounced maximum on the 22nd. The Eta Aquariids start appearing near the 28th and reach maximum activity during the first week in May. Sporadic rates are low but steady as seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45 N). Sporadic rates seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45 S) rise this month toward a maximum in July.

During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Monday April 18. At this time the moon will lie opposite the sun and will be in the sky all night long. This is the worst time of the month to try and view meteor activity as the bright moonlight will obscure all but the brightest meteors. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near one as seen from the northern hemisphere and two as seen from the southern hemisphere. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near six from the northern hemisphere and seven as seen from south of the equator. 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 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 April 16/17. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

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

Shower Name                 RA     DEC   Vel     Rates
                                         km/s   NH    SH
PPU Pi Puppids            07h 06m  -44    18    <1    <1
SLE Sigma Leonids         13h 18m  +06    20    <1    <1
ANT Antihelions           14h 40m  -15    30     1     1
LYR Lyrids                17h 56m  +35    48     1    <1
ZCY Zeta Cygnids          20h 00m  +37    42    <1    <1

RA - Right Ascension
DEC - Declination
Vel - Velocity relative to Earth (in km per sec)
Rates - Rate of visible meteors per hour from a dark site
NH - Northern Hemisphere
SH - Southern Hemisphere

Meteor Activity Outlook for April 9-15, 2011

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.

Meteor activity picks up a bit during April as two major showers are active during the month. The first of these, the Lyrids, are active from the 16th through the 25th, with a pronounced maximum on the 22nd. The Eta Aquariids start appearing near the 28th and reach maximum activity during the first week in May. Sporadic rates are low but steady as seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45 N). Sporadic rates seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45 S) rise this month toward a maximum in July.

During this period the moon reaches its first quarter phase on Monday April 11. At this time the moon will lie ninety degrees west of the sun and will set near 0100 LDT (Local Daylight Time) for those situated in the mid-northern latitudes. This is favorable circumstances for meteor observing as the moon will have set before the active morning hours arrive. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near two as seen from the northern hemisphere and three as seen from the southern hemisphere. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near eleven from the northern hemisphere and sixteen as seen from south of the equator. 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 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 April 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 wide Antihelion (ANT) radiant is now centered at 14:12 (213) -13. This area of the sky lies in eastern Virgo, three degrees south of the fourth magnitude star Kappa Virginis. This radiant is best placed near 0200 LDT when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Due to the large size of this radiant, any meteor radiating from Libra, eastern Hydra, or eastern Virgo could be a candidate for this shower. Rates at this time should be near two per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Antihelion meteor would be of medium-slow speed.

Studies of the IMO video database by Sirko Molau and Juergen Rendtel has revealed a weak radiant active in the constellation of Cygnus this time of year. The Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) are active from March 27 through April 13 with maximum activity occurring on April 6. The current radiant position lies at 20:08 (302) +41. This position lies in central Cygnus, two degrees west of the second magnitude star Sadr (Gamma Cygni). The radiant is best placed during the last dark hour before dawn, when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Due to the northern declination of the radiant, this activity is not well seen from the southern hemisphere. No matter your location, rates at this time are expected to be less than one per hour. At 44km/sec. the Zeta Cygnids would produce meteors of average velocity.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately nine 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 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.

Shower Name                 RA     DEC   Vel     Rates
                                         km/s   NH    SH
ANT Antihelions           14h 12m  -13    30     2     2
ZCY Zeta Cygnids          20h 08m  +41    56    <1    <1

RA - Right Ascension
DEC - Declination
Vel - Velocity relative to Earth (in km per sec)
Rates - Rate of visible meteors per hour from a dark site
NH - Northern Hemisphere
SH - Southern Hemisphere

Meteor Activity Outlook for April 2-8, 2011

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.

Meteor activity picks up a bit during April as two major showers are active during the month. The first of these, the Lyrids, are active from the 16th through the 25th, with a pronounced maximum on the 22nd. The Eta Aquariids start appearing near the 28th and reach maximum activity during the first week in May. Sporadic rates are low but steady as seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45 N). Sporadic rates seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45 S) rise this month toward a maximum in July.

During this period the moon reaches its new phase on Monday April 4. At this time the moon will be near the sun and is not visible at night. As the week progresses, the waxing crescent moon will enter the evening sky but will set long before the more active morning hours arrive. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near three as seen from the northern hemisphere and four as seen from the southern hemisphere. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near ten from the northern hemisphere and fourteen as seen from south of the equator. 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 April 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 wide Antihelion (ANT) radiant is now centered at 13:48 (207) -10. This area of the sky lies in eastern Virgo, four degrees east of the bright first magnitude star Spica (Alpha Virginis). This radiant is best placed near 0200 local daylight saving time (LDT) when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Due to the large size of this radiant, any meteor radiating from southern Bootes, northern Centaurus, Corvus, or Virgo could be a candidate for this shower. Rates at this time should be near two per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Antihelion meteor would be of medium-slow speed.

Studies of the IMO video database by Sirko Molau and Juergen Rendtel has revealed a weak radiant active in the constellation of Cygnus this time of year. The Zeta Cygnids (ZCY) are active from March 27 through April 13 with maximum activity occurring on April 6. The current radiant position lies at 19:52 (298) +39. This position lies in central Cygnus, six degrees west of the second magnitude star Sadr (Gamma Cygni). The radiant is best placed during the last dark hour before dawn, when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Due to the northern declination of the radiant, this activity is not well seen from the southern hemisphere. No matter your location, rates at this time are expected to be less than one per hour. At 44km/sec. the Zeta Cygnids would produce meteors of average velocity.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately eight 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 twelve 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.

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

Shower Name                 RA     DEC   Vel     Rates
                                         km/s   NH    SH
ANT Antihelions           13h 48m  -10    30     2     2
ZCY Zeta Cygnids          19h 52m  +39    56    <1    <1

RA - Right Ascension
DEC - Declination
Vel - Velocity relative to Earth (in km per sec)
Rates - Rate of visible meteors per hour from a dark site
NH - Northern Hemisphere
SH - Southern Hemisphere
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