Meteor Activity Outlook for March 27-April 2, 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 quarter phase on Tuesday March 30.  At this time the moon lies opposite the sun in the sky and rises as the sun sets and sets as the sun rises. This weekend there is a small window of time between moonset and the start of morning twilight when the sky is favorable for meteor watching. 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.

Shower descriptions will be presented next week when the moonlight conditions
have improved.

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 20m  -09    30     1     1
ZSE Zeta Serpentids      17h 32m  -03    64    <1    <1
ZCY Zeta Cygnids         19h 40m  +38    44    <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