Figure 1- These were the radiant positions for the two recent outbursts in the constellation Ara.

Both encounters with material from comet 15P/Finlay have been confirmed, giving birth to a new Arids (ARD #1130) meteor shower. Preliminary reports indicate that CAMS cameras located in the Southern Hemisphere detected activity from both the 1995 material (late September) [1, 2] and the 2014/15 returns (October 6/7) [3, 4] (Figure 1).

The September activity was weak and faint but enough activity was observed from CAMS in New-Zealand and Chile to provide an accurate radiant location.According to first analysis, 1995 material originated from a radiant located at R.A. ~ 263°, Dec. ~ -58°, with an geocentric entry velocity around 11 km/s.

The second encounter on October 6/7 was stronger with maximum ZHR’s as high as 80 during the peak, around 1h UT on Oct 7, using both radio (Figure 2) and visual data. A visual observer in Chile, under cloudy skies, reported 35 meteors from Ara during 62 minutes of viewing on October 7th. Also observing under poor conditions, Tim Cooper in South Africa only reported two meteors during two hours of viewing, but also added that “both very slow, noticeably orange, and sparkling appearance.” [5] He may have missed others as most of the Arids were reported as faint.

Figure 2- Radio data collected by IPRMO networks show clear activity of the Arid source. Credit: IPRMO

The Earth may have future encounters with debris from comet 15P/Finlay and hopefully observers in the Southern Hemisphere can enjoy more displays from this source.


[1] CBET n°5046

[2] Jenniskens, Peter, 2021. First detection of the Arid (ARD, #1130) meteor shower from comet 15P/Finlay. MeteorNews

[3] Vaubaillon, Jérémie, 2021. “Arids 2021”. The birth of a new meteor shower. IMCCE website.

[4] Jenniskens, Dr. Peter, 2021. A second Arid shower outburst in 2021. Meteor News

[5] Cooper Tim; Personal Communication, 6 October 2021


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