Meteor Activity Outlook for January 7-13, 2012

The following is a slightly edited version of Bob Lunsford’s excellent weekly summary of meteor activity. The original version can be found at the American Meteor Society’s site.

During this period the moon reaches it full phase on Monday January 9th. At this time the moon will be located opposite the sun and will be above the horizon the entire night. This is the worst time to try and view meteor activity as the glare from the bright moon will obscure all but the brightest meteors. As the week progresses a small window of dark skies is available between the end of evening twilight and moonrise. Unfortunately this is the worst time of night to try and view meteor activity as rates will only be a couple of meteors per hour. Conditions improve next week as the moon passes its last quarter phase. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near one no
matter your location. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near five as seen from mid-northern latitudes and three from mid-southern latitudes. 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 this week are reduced due to moonlight.

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 January 7/8. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period.

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           08h 00m  +19    30     1    <1
AHY Alpha Hydrids         08h 40m  -09    45    <1    <1
DLM Dec Leonis Minorids   11h 52m  +22    64    <1    <1
QUA Quadrantids           15h 28m  +49    42    <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