During this period, the moon reaches its first quarter phase on Friday November 11th. At that time the moon lies 90 degrees east of the sun and sets near 22:00 local standard time (LST) on November 10th. This weekend the waxing crescent moon will set during the early evening hours but will not spoil meteor observations as it sets long before the more active hours arrive. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 5 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 4 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). For morning observers, the estimated total hourly rates should be near 20 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 15 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). 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. Note that the hourly rates listed below are estimates as viewed from dark sky sites away from urban light sources. Observers viewing from urban areas will see less activity as only the brighter meteors will be visible from such locations.
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 November 6/7. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period. Most star atlases (available at science stores and planetariums) will provide maps with grid lines of the celestial coordinates so that you may find out exactly where these positions are located in the sky. I have also included charts of the sky that display the radiant positions for evening, midnight, and morning. The center of each chart is the sky directly overhead at the appropriate hour. These charts are oriented for facing south but can be used for any direction by rotating the charts to the desired direction. A planisphere or computer planetarium program is also useful in showing the sky at any time of night on any date of the year. Activity from each radiant is best seen when it is positioned highest in the sky, either due north or south along the meridian, depending on your latitude. It must be remembered that meteor activity is rarely seen at the radiant position. Rather they shoot outwards from the radiant, so it is best to center your field of view so that the radiant lies at the edge and not the center. Viewing there will allow you to easily trace the path of each meteor back to the radiant (if it is a shower member) or in another direction if it is sporadic. Meteor activity is not seen from radiants that are located far below the horizon. The positions below are listed in a west to east manner in order of right ascension (celestial longitude). The positions listed first are located further west therefore are accessible earlier in the night while those listed further down the list rise later in the night.
These sources of meteoric activity are expected to be active this week.
The Southern Taurids (STA) are active from a large radiant is located at 03:34 (54) +15. This area of the sky is located in southwestern Taurus, 3 degrees northeast of the 4th magnitude star known as 5 Tauri. This radiant is best placed near 0100 LST, when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Current rates should be near 4 per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 27 km/sec., the average STA meteor would be of medium-slow velocity.
The Northern Taurids (NTA) are active from a large radiant is located at 03:36 (54) +21. This area of the sky is located in western Taurus, 4 degrees southwest of the naked eye star cluster known as the Pleiades. This radiant is best placed near 0100 LST, when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be 3 per hour as seen from the Northern Hemisphere and 2 per as seen from south of the equator. With an entry velocity of 29 km/sec., the average NTA meteor would be of medium-slow velocity.
The Orionids (ORI) are active from October 2 through November 7, with maximum activity occurring on October 21st. The radiant is currently located at 07:04 (106) +17, which places it in southern Gemini, 3 degrees northwest of the 4th magnitude star known as lambda Geminorum. This area of the sky is best placed near 04:00. Current rates are expected to be near 2 per hour, no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 66 km/sec., the average ORI meteor would be of swift velocity.
The Leonids (LEO) are active from November 03-December 02 with maximum activity occurring on November 18th. The radiant is currently located at 09:40 (145) +25. This position lies in northwestern Leo, 2 degrees southwest of the 4th magnitude star known as Rasalas (mu Leonis). The Leonid radiant is best placed during the last hour before morning twilight when the radiant lies highest in a dark sky. Leonids may be seen from the Southern Hemisphere, but the viewing conditions are not quite as favorable as those north of the equator. Current rates are expected to be less than 1 per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 71 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be of swift speed with numerous persistent trains on the brighter meteors.
As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately 11 sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near 3 per hour. As seen from the tropical southern latitudes (25S), morning rates would be near 7 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 2 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.
|SHOWER||DATE OF MAXIMUM ACTIVITY||CELESTIAL POSITION||ENTRY VELOCITY||CULMINATION||HOURLY RATE||CLASS|
|RA (RA in Deg.) DEC||Km/Sec||Local Standard Time||North-South|
|Southern Taurids (STA)||Nov 05||03:34 (54) +15||27||01:00||4 – 4||II|
|Northern Taurids (NTA)||Nov 12||03:36 (54) +21||29||01:00||3 – 2||II|
|Orionids (ORI)||Oct 21||07:04 (106) +17||66||04:00||2 – 2||I|
|Leonids (LEO)||Nov 18||09:40 (145) +25||71||07:00||<1 – <1||I|