Meteor Activity Outlook for October 3-9, 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. New Outlooks are released every Thursday (and if I had hit the “publish” button last week, you would have been reading this post last Thursday :)). The original unedited version of this week’s Meteor Activity Outlook can be found at the American Meteor Society’s site.

Meteor activity in general increases in October when compared to September.
A major shower (the Orionids) is active most of the month along with several
minor showers. Both branches of the Taurids become more active as the month
progresses, providing slow, graceful meteors to the nighttime scene. The
Orionids are the big story of the month reaching maximum activity on the
22nd. This display can be seen equally well from both hemispheres which
definitely helps out observers located in the sporadic-poor southern
hemisphere this time of year.

During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Sunday October 4th. At
this time the moon lies in the sky all night long and severely hampers
meteor observations. A small window of dark skies opens later in the week as
the waning gibbous moon rises later in the evening allowing a couple of
hours of dark sky between the end of evening twilight and moonrise. The
estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near three
as seen from the northern hemisphere and two from the southern hemisphere.
For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near seven
from the northern hemisphere and four 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. All rates are severely reduced by bright

The radiant positions and rates listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning October 3/4. 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 or the
night of maximum activity for showers of short duration.

Shower Name               RA   DEC Vel    Rates
                                   km/s  NH   SH
GIA Draconids           17h28m +56  19   <1   <1
OPC Oct ε-Piscids       00h05m +14  19   <1   <1
STA Southern Taurids    01h46m +08  29    1    1
ORI Orionids            05h28m +16  67   <1   <1
OCT Oct Camelopardalids 11h13m +79  45   <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