Meteor Outlook for November and December 2020

The winter months bring long hours of darkness and two of the year’s highlights, the Geminids and Quadrantids.

The Geminids peak on 13-14 December and this year they coincide with the nearly-new Moon, so conditions are perfect. If skies are clear you might see 50-70 meteors per hour. The radiant will be high in the southeast at midnight.

The Quadrantids unfortunately coincide with the Full Moon on 29 December, and so in the best of conditions you are unlikely to see more than 20 per hour. The radiant is low in the north at sunset, rising to nearly the zenith by dawn.

There are also several minor showers at this time of year. The Northern Taurids peak on 11 November. A rate of 2-3 per hour is likely in the pre-dawn hours after moonset. A week later on 17 November  the Leonids will also be best viewed before dawn, with possible rates of 7-8 per hour.  Moving into December the final shower of the year, the Ursids peaks on 22 December and will again be best seen after midnight once the waning Moon sets. A visual rate of 2-3 is likely.

The IMO list several other minor showers at this time of year, the Monocerotids, Cassiopeids, Hydrids, Coma Berenicids and December Leonis Minorids. These all have rates of less than five in dark skies but will add to the constant background of sporadics.

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