Meteor Activity Outlook for October 23-29, 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.

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 usually the big story of the month but this year the Orionid peak coincides with the full moon, which will severely reduce the number of meteors seen. Orionid activity can be seen before and after maximum when the moon is not so troublesome. Unfortunately on these nights the Orionid rates will be low, most likely less than five per hour.

During this period the moon is full on the 23rd and wanes toward last quarter, which is reached on the 30th. The bright moon will make observing meteors difficult as only the brightest ones can be seen in the lunar glare. Those viewing under transparent skies will have better success as the moonlight will be less scattered. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near four from the northern hemisphere and two for observers south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near twelve from the northern hemisphere and nine 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 this week due to lunar interference.

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 October 23/24. 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 detailed descriptions will be continued next week when the moonlight is not as intense.

Shower Name                 RA     DEC   Vel     Rates
                                         km/s   NH    SH
OUI October Ursa Minorids 18h 12m  +74    28    <1    <1
NTA Northern Taurids      02h 52m  +20    29     1    <1
STA Southern Taurids      02h 32m  +11    30     2     2
ETT Eta Taurids           04h 00m  +24    47    <1    <1
ORI Orionids              06h 32m  +16    67     5     5
EGE Epsilon Geminids      07h 04m  +27    70    <1    <1
BCN Beta Cancrids         07h 12m  -03    65    <1    <1
LMI Leonis Minorids       10h 48m  +36    60    <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

1 Comment

  1. While driving over the mid point bridge this morning at approx. 6:15 I noticed a intense ball of light with a tail falling from the south. I had seen lights shooting across the sky in the past, but this one was so large and colorful it seemed as if it hit in the area of the northern section of the Cape. If you might know what it was I sure would like to know….

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