Meteor Activity Outlook for November 21-27, 2009

The Meteor Activity Outlook is a weekly summary of expected meteor activity written by Robert Lunsford, Operations Manager of the American Meteor Society and contributor to this blog. The original unedited version of this week’s Meteor Activity Outlook 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 showers are active 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 first quarter phase on Tuesday November 24th. On that date the moon lies ninety degrees east of the sun and will set near midnight local standard time (LST). This weekend the waxing crescent moon will set long before the more active morning hours arrive, allowing dark skies for those who venture out during the morning hours. As the week progresses the moon sets later each night narrowing the window of opportunity to view under dark conditions. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near four as seen from the northern hemisphere and three from the southern hemisphere. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near twenty from the northern hemisphere and ten as seen from the 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 the evening hours due to moonlight.

The radiant positions and rates listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning November 21/22. 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.

Andromedids (AND)

Sirko Molau’s studies of video radiants has revealed that activity from the famous Andromedid shower, noted for intense storms during the 19th century, may still be seen throughout November. This position lies in eastern Andromeda, two degrees south of the fourth magnitude star Nu Andromedae. The nearest bright star is second magnitude Almach (Gamma Andromedae), which lies four degrees to the northeast. Visual activity is expected to be low, but detectable. The Andromedid radiant is best placed near 2200 (10pm) local standard time (LST) when it lies on the meridian. At 19km/sec., the average Andromedid will appear as a very slow moving meteor. Sirko mentions that these meteors are “conspicuously slow and of almost constant activity” during this period.

Northern Taurids (NTA)

The Northern Taurids (NTA) are active from a large radiant centered at 04:29 (067) +24, which lies in northern Taurus, eight 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, but activity may be seen all night long. Meteors from the Northern Taurids strike the atmosphere at 29km/sec., which would produce meteors of slow velocity. Expected rates would be ~3 per hour as seen from the northern hemisphere and ~2 per hour as seen south of the equator.

November Orionids (NOO)

The November Orionids (NOO) were recently discovered by analyzing video data. This shower is active from November 18 through December 9. Maximum activity occurs on November 30. The radiant is currently (11/18) located at 05:44 (086) +15. This position lies on the Orion/Taurus border, six degrees north of the third magnitude star Lambda Orionis. These meteors are also best seen near 0300 LST when the radiant lies on the meridian and highest above the horizon. At 44 km/sec. the November Orionids produce mostly medium velocity meteors.

Alpha Monocerotids (AMO)

The Alpha Monocerotids (AMO) are active from November 15-25, with maximum occurring on the 21st. This shower has produced outbursts in the past but none are expected for many years to come. Rates are expected to be < 1 shower member per hour, even on the night of maximum activity. The radiant is currently located at 07:52 (118) +01. This position lies in southeastern Canis Minor, five degrees southeast of the zero magnitude star Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris). These meteors are also best seen near 0500 LST when the radiant lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. At 65 km/sec. the Alpha Monocerotids produce mostly swift meteors.

Leonids (LEO)

The Leonids (LEO) reached maximum activity on the morning of November 17th with ZHR’s exceeding 100 as seen over Asia. Current rates would be near one per hour no matter your location. The radiant is currently located at 10:27 (157) +20. This position lies in western Leo, just one degree northeast of the famous second magnitude double star Algeiba (Gamma Leonis). At 70km/sec., the average Leonid is swift with a high percentage of trains. The radiant does not rise until the late evening hours so it is advised to wait until after midnight before beginning serious observations. The radiant is most favorably located during the last dark hour before the onset of morning twilight when it lies highest in a dark sky.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see ~16 Sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be ~3 per hour. As seen from the mid-southern hemisphere (45S), morning rates would be ~6 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and ~2 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.

The table 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 all week long.

Shower Name                RA     DEC   Vel     Rates
                                        km/s   NH    SH
AND Andromedids          01h 38m  +39    19    <1    <1
NTA Northern Taurids     04h 29m  +24    29     3     2
AMO Alpha Monocerotids   07h 52m  +01    65    <1    <1
LEO Leonids              10h 27m  +20    70     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

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

55 Responses to Meteor Activity Outlook for November 21-27, 2009

  1. Zerph says:

    I saw a huge meteor at 5:50 pm Nov. 21, 2009 in Hartland VT looking south at the moon. Crossed the entire sky, large tail burning the whole time. Any one else see this?

    • Jack says:

      I saw a huge meteor in the Northern sky from Southbury CT at the same time.

    • A McNamara says:

      Yes, I saw it in Derry, NH. Very clear with a long tail that burned as it headed down, at 5:50 last eve.

    • Wendy says:

      We were outdoors on Saturday evening around a campfire with nothing but sky all around us when we saw this amazing site (in Bridgewater CT)! How fortunate!

  2. san says:

    yes it in went in to south africa at 11 pm

    • Benga Akerele says:

      saw the same thing in Botswana exactly on the 21st November, it was big, for me it was scary i have seen one small thing before but not a that magnitude 21st November at like 10:00 to 11:30, but this thing lit the whole night up, it literally turned night in to day..did any take a picture or get what it was called!!!
      We all thought it was the end of the world

      im blown away

  3. zelina Blagden says:

    YES. I was walking my dog in Williamsburg Brooklyn and I saw this huge meteor too. It was so low and beautiful zooming toward the bridge. thank you

    • charles kolb says:

      Dear Zelina,

      Finally managed to track you down. How have you been? What are you doing?

      I hope that you have been well.

      Charlie

  4. james says:

    i seen one at half 11pm 21 november crosses the whole sky amazing sight hi

  5. james says:

    im looking out every night now to see another there outstanding🙂

  6. jonathan says:

    I saw a meteor over Passaic NJ. on the 21 around 5 or 6 !

    • cheryl Avagnano says:

      im saw glad i found this sight I saw it also in paramus nj around between 5-6 it was big and beuatiful what was its name?

  7. Zerph says:

    Glad to hear that I wasn’t alone on that one! Thanks all for your comments!

  8. tiaan says:

    i saw one yesterday 21 nov 09 10:45aprox south africa, it was awsome!!but where did it fall and what was it?

  9. nonamefornow says:

    I was walking my dog in downown New Haven and saw it also…it was one of the most beautiful things I ever saw, outside of watching take NASA offs while living in Fla…. it was also around 5-6 pm…BEAUTIFUL!!

  10. erik compton says:

    hold dinner plate at arms length. the meteor i saw crossed 4-5 of these in a six second interval.red and white heard nothing. new mildew ct

  11. Sara Martins says:

    My family was driving in our car in Andover, Mass, USA around 5:45PM, Sat Nov 21, we turned a bend in a road and straight ahead of us in the night sky was a tremendous yellow and green meteor falling through the sky, with an amazing red, white, and yellow tail. We have never in our lives seen anything so incredible, we were in awe that we had a perfect view of a once in a lifetime experience.

  12. Mary B says:

    james :i seen one at half 11pm 21 november crosses the whole sky amazing sight hi

    I saw something last night (Nov 21) around 11:30 CST, spring hill, TN. It was a big bright light, falling slowly in the sky, but didn’t notice a tail. It was the most awesome thing I have ever seen. Saw another smaller with a tail that was falling much quicker around 12:00 CST.

  13. Paula says:

    The aliens have landed!

  14. Benga Akerele says:

    I saw the same thing in Botswana exactly on the 21st November, it was big, for me it was scary i have seen one small thing before but not a that magnitude 21st November at like 10:00 to 11:30, but this thing lit the whole night up, it literally turned night in to day..did any take a picture or get what it was called!!!
    We all thought it was the end of the world

    im blown away

    • Dikgakgamatso Jacob says:

      Hello

      So i guess i was’nt the only one thinking that the world was coming to an end, i saw exactly the same thing though i didn;t hear the sound. I was about to enter into a toilet (pit latern) that night and i couldn’t even do that i got so scared that i returned back to the house to my suprise my girlfriend does not beleive in this things but that day she learnt it the hard way.

      I saw the bright white light from a place called Palapye almost near to the Tuli block regions.

      I am hoping to see the real rock sample too or sighting where it hit.

      Thanks

  15. John Clappen says:

    I saw it too at about 11:30 on the 21November. It fell close to the botswana border line. It was huge.

  16. Daleen says:

    This was happen on my wedding… My husband en most of my guests was on the deck talking then this happened… Awesome happening and with this we know God has a plan with averything. and was our whole day full of wonderfull moments and miracles and with this event we’ll sensed it too…. The message I suppose we’ll get it later.

  17. Andrej says:

    Big meteor falled in my backyard in the saturday night i found it , i dont know is it the same or something other

  18. cell says:

    November 24 8:30pm. Naples Florida. Thought I was seing things. Beautifull ball of fire crossed the dark sky. It’s whte and yellow tail mesmerized me for a split second. Hope it beauty mesmerized others.

    • ANGIE says:

      I saw it too!!! it was amazing..at first i thought it was firworks, but i didnt hear any booms. What an incredible sight and privilege.

    • Frank says:

      My girlfriend and I saw a huge beautiful meteor from Fort Lauderdale. It looked almost like a comet. In addition to white, yellow and orange there was blues and greens. I have never seen anything like it.

      Could it be the same meteor?

  19. LifesMockery says:

    I saw what looked to be a meteor cross the sky from east to west Nov 24th at around 8:30PM to the north of me here in Pompano Beach, Florida. It glowed green with a bright yellow-ish orange tail trailing behind it. Beautiful sight.

    • Frank says:

      Yes we saw it too. It was by far the biggest, brightest, prettiest shooting star I have ever seen. Glad someone else saw it.

  20. George says:

    The large meteor fall that took place on 21 Nov 2009 was caught on the security camera of the Mustek building in Midrand, South Africa. Footage is posted at

  21. Daniel says:

    Hey I was wondering if anyone saw a HUGE green meteor around 1:20am central time last night (morning of Thanksgiving)? I was outside of my house in south alabama and the sky literally lit up when this thing came into view. It was extremely low in the western sky. Ive seen hundreds of shooting stars and this one was 45-50 times larger than anything I have ever witnessed. Thanks, Daniel

    • Nichole says:

      I saw a huge green meteor/fireball around the same time but after thanksgiving night (morning of the 27th) in TX driving south to Austin. It lit the entire sky almost.

  22. Amanda says:

    I saw something tonight? 11/26 11pm ish in Michigan near Flint. It was quick and slightly orange but white. 1 streak straight down from the sky then nothing. It was larger than a normal shooting star.Was this a meteor or was it space junk? I dont know what either would look like.

  23. Diane says:

    November 26, 2009 at 6:20pm saw two starlike objects low to earth streaking slowly following each other in Tucson, AZ. I was able to get binoculars to see that it was bright lights going NE to Eastward direction and from white bright lights to orange and then disappeared. The first light was brighter than the second which followed with like three car lengths distance if you can imagine the view that way in distance (not sure how else to explain it). No one else reported it but my Mom saw it too and we’ve never seen two together so bright and low to earth.

    • Joey Chernov says:

      This was the Space Station and Space Shuttle orbiting ahead. I saw the same thing a few moments earlier near my friends home in Florida, right before I saw a large fireball. Check my post to see info on both the items. HTe brighter dot was the station with the dimmer being the shuttle, as the station has solar panels and a larger surface to reflect light back to earth.

  24. tracy says:

    We just saw a blue-Green meteor – we were traveling north on Rt. 95 in Virginia and the meteor was shooting from east to west.Pretty impressive! It was traveling very quickly and I would have loved to see it out in the country instead of by Richmond!

    • Robin says:

      I saw the same one. Wow! It was so exciting. I was in the car all by myself near Midlothian Turnpike in Richmond. I’m glad someone else around here saw it because I had no one to share the experience with. That was the largest one I have ever seen.

    • Player says:

      I saw it too. We were at Mount Vernon doing the candlelight tour. I was the only one in my group to see it, by the time I yelled out for them to look up (they were looking at the beautiful candlelit home) it was gone. I think the one I saw was around 7PM on the 27th though. It was definitely the biggest one I ever saw. I felt like no one believed me when I said it was so huge.

  25. Lor says:

    My husband and I just saw a large white/green meteor streaking almost straight down. It broke through the clouds and was very impressive. This happened at about 7:15 pm in North Eastern PA in the North-Western sky. It was moving in a North-West direction as well.

  26. Susan says:

    I saw a large, bright-white meteor over I-95 in Northern Virginia around 9PM on November 27. My brother and his wife were traveling on Route 1, around Quantico, and saw it (or another one), as well.

  27. Bill Moriarty says:

    I live in the Fairfax/Chantilly area of Northern Virginia. Last night, Nov. 27th, at approximately 8:10pm I saw a very large green/blue meteor fireball with an impressive wide long tail streak across the sky from NNE to NNW quite low in the sky at about 40 degrees above the horizon.

  28. susan says:

    Im trying to figure out what I saw last night. On the 27th, just after 7pm. I was traveling east on Versailles Rd in Lexington KY. Passing by Bluegrass airport, looking to the North East, I saw something falling from the sky. It was quite large and clear (or white). It fell back in the area where all the large farms are located(or maybe further- hard to judge distance or size for that matter when one is driving a car, so not sure of how far away or exactly large it was). Any ideas of what this might have been??? Its driving me crazy. Nothing on the news about it.

  29. GARY says:

    ME AN MY FAMILY WHERE ON I81 IN VIRGINIA AROUND 515 PM ON THE 27 OF NOVMBER 2009 I YELLED METEOR IT WAS NOTHING LIKE I SAW BEFORE THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME BEING FROM NJ WE DONT SEE THINGS LIKE THAT IT WAS ORANGE FIRE BALL WITH GREEN BLUE TAIL IT SEEMED SO CLOSE BUT HAPPEN SO FAST NO ONE ELSE SO IT IM GLAD I RAN INTO THIS SITE SO NOW THEY BELIVE ME TRUST ME I WILL LOOK TO THE SKY FOR MORE IT WAS AMAZING

  30. john says:

    saw a HUGE shooting star come rigth across teh moon around 1230am on (sat. am technically) november 28th, AWESOME!! im located in media,PA

  31. William Walker says:

    My wife and i saw an extremely close meteor falling over martinsburg west virginia on nov. 27 2009 around 6:50 pm.It was orange and red, teardropped with a very long tail trailing. It was so close, it got our hearts racing!We live beside the air national guard.The meteor was falling not much higher than the big c-5 planes fly!I’m anxious to hear if the guard caught anything on their radar!I have not heard anything on the news but it may be the same one the others saw in northern virginia,it was heading in that direction!We feel so lucky to have observed this rare occasion!

  32. ezekiel says:

    pls check this

  33. Dave says:

    My girlfriend and I were traveling northbound I-95 in VA around mile marker 110 when we saw the same meteor.. It fell to the northwest of us and to me looked reddish orange, and looked close enough to where I could see flames licking around it, it wasn’t just a streak in the sky. It was in the evening but I don’t recall the time. Amazing stuff! Been trying to find more info about it but nothing has turned up so far (except for this post)

  34. Zerph says:

    These sightings are so interesting. Is this normal for so many large meteors to be seen like this? It seems that many of you found this site like I did, searching for info about what I saw. I’m not a frequent user of these type of sites? What’s going on?

    • Bill Fields says:

      Yes, I searched and found this site, because I was puzzled at hearing nothing on the news about the fireball I saw. Would like to see more comments about this. Thanks!

  35. Paige says:

    <—-Girlfriend of Dave

    Looked white/blue to me, but I was the one driving! It was around 6:30PM on November 27. Absolutely amazing sight.

  36. Bill Fields says:

    While driving on I-77 N just south of Rock Hill SC on Fri. 11-27-09 at about 6:45-7:00 pm, I saw a huge fireball crossing low in the sky from right to left. It was to the left side of the interstate. It was flaming in colors of blue and orange-red. It was about the size of an SUV! At first I thought a plane was crashing, but there was nothing on the news.

  37. Joey Chernov says:

    I was about 6 miles North-West of Tampa Florida. Thanksgiving night I was out to see the ISS and Shuttle pass over head in a cloudless sky lit up by a brilliantly bright moon. About 20 minutes later (maybe 7.00-7.30ish, I am not sure when) I saw a huge fireball streak across the sky. I was looking south, and it was traveling from West to East. It was at first a bright flash, similar to that of lightning, or an A-bomb, which then evolved into the brightest, most beautiful red imaginable. Smaller “sparks” or particles were falling off of this trail as it streaked across the sky. After falling for about two seconds, the red fire trail stopped, and the light bluish/white meteor continued falling. One of my friends I was with claimed to have seen another similar object about a minute later. I have seen nothing about this anywhere yet, I hope someone here could help!

  38. J.W. Sears says:

    On Nov 27, from my viewpoint in Winston-Salem, NC, while facing E to ENE, I apparently viewed the same spectacular fireball at about 6:53 pm EST for approximately 5 – 7 secs, reported by several others here. I saw it as a bright, teal-blue-green oval appearing to be tightly encapsulated on the front, top, and bottom by a thin layer of bright white light, trailed by a short, reddish-orange, turning quickly into a longer, luminescent-whitish color with a few agitated orange sparks appearing in the foreportion of the whitish segment. It’s path appeared to be from ESE to WNW, and my impression was that, due to it’s trajectory before disappearing behind a tree-line approximately 1/3 to 1/2 mile distant, it would likely crash between Shaffner Park and WFU. From others reporting here, and based on how slowly the fireball appeared to be moving, my conclusion is that my sighting was far more distant than I would ever have imagined. Of the 480+ sightings I made one night under very good conditions back during the 2001 Leonid meteor showers, none were so spectacular. Note Bill Fields report (now #48) reference to left side of I-77: If viewed while in the curve just south of Rock Hill, SC, this sighting may well be in line with mine. After finding two other meteor sites with report system issues, and after looking for fully expected news reports of the event unsuccessfully for a few days, I surfed again and found this venue. I have book-marked this site and will return for other possible late reports and to possibly make future ones. My thanks to this site’s provider and to the many contributors here!

  39. John Money says:

    DECEMBER 4, 2009 0513 hours I spotted a meteor in Westchester County NY.
    Did anyone else see it?
    Was it a shooting star or meteor?

  40. Rob Kirk says:

    My brother-in-law and I saw a large white fireball in the running east to north east sometime after 9pm on Friday 11/27 in Austin, Texas driving on 71. It was amazing. Maybe covering a 60-70 degree arc. Biggest I’ve ever seen and I used to lay out for hours watching meteor showers. There were lights on the highway but it was still stunning. Four times the size and brigtness of Venus on a good night. It seemed to last a couple of seconds – not just a quick flash like a normal meteor.

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