December 11 Meteors

Possible meteor activity from the 1947 dust trail of periodic comet 46P/Wirtanen was predicted for last night. I decided to go out and watch for an hour centered on the time of the expected peak (06:21 UT). Unfortunately no ‘Wirtanen-ids’ were seen. I did catch 8 Geminids and 5 sporadic (those not affiliated with any meteor shower, or at least none that I was monitoring) meteors. The highlight of the night was three meteors (1 Geminid and 2 sporadics) seen in rapid succession all within a span of 20 or so seconds.

So far there have been no reports of any ‘Wirtanen-id’. Bob Lunsford was also observing at nearly the same time as I was except he was observing in southern CA and he also did not see any activity.

It will be interesting to see if any activity is seen during the three remaining dust trail crossings: the 1941 trail at 10:20 UT on Dec. 12, the 1934 trail at 12:30 UT on Dec. 13 and the 1927 trail at 00:02 UT on Dec. 14. The Dec 12 and 13 crossings will not be visible from the United States while the Dec 14 crossing will be visible from the eastern US. Of course, our understanding of meteor trails and even the motion of 46P prior to its discovery in 1948 is not exact so it is possible that trail crossings might happen at other times, if at all.


  1. Hi! I think we might have seen the meteor dust activity – it looked like a cloud that is moving really fast. We live close to the coast in South Africa and noticed this peculiar sight when we were out on the balcony. Interesting stuff!

  2. Hello, We saw the same image. I live close to the West Coast in California. It was really amazing with the sun setting on the horizon.

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