Meteor Activity Outlook for February 27-March 5, 2010

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.

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 continue a slow decline as seen from the mid-northern latitudes and mid-southern rates reach a first half minimum. There is not much to look forward to this month expect for the evening fireballs that seem to peak this time of year from the northern hemisphere. This could be due to the fact the antapex radiant lies highest above the horizon this time of  year during the evening hours.

During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Sunday February 28th.  At this time the bright moon will be in the sky all night long making meteor observing difficult at best. As the week progresses the moon will rise later and later in the evening offering a few hours of dark sky between the end of evening twilight and moonrise.The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is ~1 for those in the northern hemisphere and ~2 for those south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be ~5 from the northern hemisphere and ~7 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.

The radiant positions and rates listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning February 27/28. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

The full descriptions of each active meteor shower will continue next week when the moon becomes less of a nuisance to observers.

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          11h 28m  +02    30     1     1
GNO Gamma Normids        15h 44m  -52    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

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

31 Responses to Meteor Activity Outlook for February 27-March 5, 2010

  1. Jen says:

    I was driving home tonight and saw something fall from the sky in the Dixie/401 area of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Was wondering if you might be able to shed some light on it.

    At first I thought it was fireworks, but it seemed different in that it hurtled in a very straight line (no arc that I could tell) and came down much faster than I would expect from fireworks. It also had a bluish tint to it. It was a tight ball of light, didn’t explode or anything.

    I’m wondering if it might have been some kind of comet, or even a piece of a plane… would be interested to find out if you hear anything about it!

    • Maxime says:

      Sorry, it was not 10pm when I’ve saw this “thing”, it was more like 11h40pm….

    • Jen says:

      I should clarify; the timestamp on my post shows March 4th at 10:29 but in my timezone (EST), this would have actually been closer to midnight.

    • angela says:

      I saw a green comet like object in Massachusetts around 7pm on March 5th. Anyone else see this?

  2. Maxime says:

    Hi Jen !
    I was driving from home tonight as well, and around 10:00pm, I think I have seen exactly the same thing ! I thought it was a bright blue fireworks, but I was in a middle of nowhere and the line was too much horizontal. (Usually, a fireworks goes vertical!).

    I was near Montreal, Canada (Saint-Hilaire City). You are around 6hrs of driving from me ! Is it the same thing we saw ?

    incredible.

    Maxime

  3. Andre says:

    I saw the same thing last night march 4 2010 in Timmins Ontario. I was on Riverside drive when i saw an object hurdling to the ground. It almost looked like a blue flame. It is not my first sighting. I have seen other big meteorites crash down but with a red fireball. This latest one i saw almost looked blue. Curious.

  4. TN28 says:

    I saw a blueish green bright light similar to a shooting star but much brighter and larger last night around 11:54 pm eastern time in Upstate, NY! It looked very large and very, very bright. More green than blue and was shooting through the sky.

  5. Maxime says:

    I think we are talking about the same “thing” !! awesome !!
    Montreal, Toronto, NY ! wow

  6. Paul says:

    My location is 20 miles ESE of Rochester, NY and I also observed this fireball before midnight on March 4th. It lasted approximately 1.5 seconds and traveled over approximately 7 degrees, low in the northeastern sky. Did not see blue color, more brillant white / green. Very impressive sight indeed!

  7. ss says:

    My sister and I also saw what seemed to be a meteorite last night around midnight from our living room window in Longueuil, Quebec ! Streak of Blue Light. SO EXCITING !

  8. nina says:

    Hello –
    oh I am so glad others seen it also! I was out walking my Winston – a beautiful crisp night in Kingston On. The streak was brilliant across the sky – fast and LARGE. The colours in the tail reminded me of the northern lights. Blue and green with a little red. It was breathtaking. What was it?

  9. nina says:

    hey – it was the ISS – or the International Space Station! Wow.

  10. Maxime says:

    Nina, how did you know ?

  11. Concetta says:

    I was driving at around midnight last night March 04/10 and saw a light streaming down like a falling star right across my car on Eglinton around Vic. Park and it went right down into the bushes on the side of the road. It was bright like fire works but came straight down Blue green and larger than a soft ball approx. 300 yards from my car.
    Coincidentally when I got home my daughter said she too saw it from her bedroom window -she said but from much higher in the sky than I did and described the same light looking like a bright fire work.

  12. ISEENIT!! says:

    I live in Williamsville NY and was out for a walk around 930pm when I saw what is being described. Ive seen meteors/shooting stars before, but this one appeared to burn farther into our atmosphere. What I saw lasted about 2 seconds.

  13. Concetta says:

    BTW -our sighting was in the City of Toronto.

  14. pete says:

    what the hell was that. it was huge, bright blue green and smoking fast. i am in innisfil just outside barrie and was pondering the ponderable on my porch and whoosh… did it hit earth…? my estimate it would have fallen into the atlantic. but it was huge. just to give some comparison. it was half the size of the moon. what was it..?

  15. Maxime says:

    I think Nina is right. After some research, I think it was the ISS – The International Space Station. You can track the ISS live right here: http://www.n2yo.com/

    Here’s more info about the ISS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station

    it was awesome!

  16. en says:

    i was in anza borrego Ca and around 10 my brother and i saw a green arcing thing. we wernt looking straight up, we were looking straight and then we saw it go. would this be the same thing?

  17. Carl Hergenrother says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Based on everyone’s comments as well as a few sightings reported to the American Meteor Society, the observed object was a bright meteor (sometimes called a fireball). Since meteors usually occur at an altitude of 90 km or so, they can be seen over large distances (100s of km). As impressive as it looked, the meteor probably got no closer to the ground than about 60-70 km before burning up.

    As for whether this could have been a sighting of the International Space Station, the descriptions don’t match. The ISS would appear as a slow moving star in the sky. Though it can get very bright is would be visible for a few minutes as
    it slowly crossed the sky. Also it rarely appears blue and never has a fiery tail.

    Thanks for writing,
    – Carl

  18. Jen says:

    Thank you Carl!

  19. Concetta says:

    TFor Carl- he thing I saw did in fact hit the ground, right into a bush along side the road. It was not moving that fast. It was a ball and it was big like a a street light blue/green vibrant and neon like about 300 yards from my car.

  20. Paul says:

    Perhaps the Toronto authorities should be alerted and they can arrange for the “ball” to be collected from the roadside – cosmic litter is a terrible thing to have to see.

  21. Elandryia says:

    I just saw a bright streak of white/yellow light, light up the sky for a brief, intense second, only moments ago. I live in Old Town, Maine, USA. Did anyone else see the same thing? I’m pretty sure it must have been a meteor, but I’ve never seen the likes of it before. It was the most beautiful, amazing thing I have ever witnessed!!

    • maria says:

      Elandryia: I did see something strange that day…what it seems to be lightning in a green/blueish color I was driving back home from North going South on Turnpike (New Jersey) I was around Linden area Exit 13 at around 8:30pm and I thought a light stroke the Exxon Bayway Refinery?! the color was so weird! and it happens twice!!

  22. Kim says:

    I live in Montegut, Louisiana. Last night (March 25) around 9 PM CT, I saw a blueish flame shoot almost at a horizontal position across my back field and it appeared to have shot toward the ground. Could that have been a meteor? We have large fields then marsh beyond that. It was truly amazing to see.

  23. Poh says:

    I live in Singapore. This morning (March 26) around 6am (GMT +8), I saw a large bright greenish light shoot cross the sky! I can’t believed it myself! Wonder who else saw it?

  24. Pete says:

    April 5, 2010 – approx 8:30pm EST. West Island Montreal- MacDoanld Campus – McGill University – 1-2 second bright light, size of a baseball, incredible speed. Disappeard at about 50-60 feet above the ground. Looked like it was about 100-200 yards ahead of me. Never seen one so close before. Was quite amazing, unfortunately could not find anything on the ground.

  25. Concetta says:

    Hey Paul- I went down into the area to look for it but it is a large area of thick forest/bush area under a bridge/rod. Too thick to search out-need more people. Along Eglinton Ave. this is the only portion of the avenue that does not have apartment buildings and commerical buildings on each side. There were 2 of us in the car that saw it and also coincidentally my daughter also saw it from her window as it also faces north east. Again, it was not travelling that fast as it stremed across our car and went right own into the bush area.

  26. Donna says:

    Timmins Ontario, November 7, about 7:15 local time, my tenant and I were looking at a very very bright light in the clear Southeast sky that did not move for the whole 15min we watched, and was 4 bright lights strung together vertically. My tenant well versed in the constellations agreed that it was too close to be any cluster of stars. About 10 minutes later, we saw a blue streak come down but it was farther over. After about 20min we went online to see if we could find any news about what it could be and five min later when we looked out again, it was completely gone. Can anyone tell me what this was?

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