Meteor rates continue to be strong as seen from
the northern hemisphere. The antihelion radiant has merged with the two Taurid
radiants producing slow meteors that are visible during the evening and early
morning hours. Swift meteors from the Leonid radiant can be seen during the
morning hours for two weeks centered at mid-month. Strong sporadic rates continue
during the morning hours as long as the moon is below the horizon. From the
southern hemisphere, sporadic rates are increasing in strength toward a peak in
January. Meteors from the Leonid and Taurid radiants also help to fill the
southern skies with more activity. A new moon during the peak of the Leonid shower
will help provide observers with dark skies.

During this period the moon
reaches its full phase on Sunday November 5. The sources of meteors listed
below are active during this period but will be difficult to observe this week.
If your sky is transparent and the limiting magnitude exceeds +5.0, then you
may be able to achieve some success. The estimated total hourly rates for
evening observers this week is near three for those in the Northern Hemisphere
and two for those located in the Southern Hemisphere. For morning observers the
estimated total hourly rates should be near fourteen for those viewing in the
Northern Hemisphere and nine for those in the Southern Hemisphere. These rates
assume that you are watching from rural areas away from all sources of light
pollution. 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 intense moonlight.

The radiant positions listed below are exact for Saturday
night/Sunday morning November 4/5. 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. 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. Doing this 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 a sporadic. Meteor activity is not seen from radiants that are located
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.

The full descriptions of each active meteor shower will continue next week when
the moon becomes less of a nuisance to observers.

Northern Taurid (NTA) Nov 12 03:28 (052) +21 29 00:00 2 – 2 II
Southern Taurid (STA) Nov 5 03:28 (052) +15 27 00:00 3 – 3 II
Orionids (ORI) Oct 21 07:00 (105) +17 66 04:00 1 – 1 I

Clear Skies!

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