Daylight Meteor over Croatia

At 09:31 UTC on the 28th of February, a spectacular fireball was spotted by many observers over northern Italy and Croatia.

The event was seen over a wide area of Croatia, Slovenia and northern Italy, accompanied by a sonic boom. It is thought likely that some fragments will have survived and made it to the ground.

Video footage of the event can be seen here:

Meteor Outlook for March and April 2020

March a very quiet month for night time meteor hunters, April a bit less so.

In March, the γ-Normids (GNO) and π-Puppids (PPU) are a southern hemisphere event. Most of April’s showers are daytime, such as the April Piscids (APS), and have radiants close to the Sun. The Anthelion source also peaks during March and April but this isn’t really a shower. It refers to an oval area about thirty degrees in RA and fifteen in declination, centred a bit to the east of the point opposite the sun on the ecliptic from which several weak unnamed showers originate. Its not possible to identify a specific radiant for these meteors, and you’re best to just ID them as source=ANT!  There may be a weak peak around 17th March. If you run a radio detector you may pick up activity from these showers – if so please do send details to meteor@popastro.com.

Anthelion Source
The anthelion source location

The main event of April is the Lyrids (LYR) which peak on 22nd April at 07.00. The ZHR can be up to 90 but is predicted to be around 18 in 2020. The radiant will be high in the south-east and the Moon will be new, so we can hope for clear skies. A ZHR of 18 implies a visual rate of around six an hour given the position of the radiant and lack of moonlight.

2020 Lyrids
The location of the Lyrids

The Lyrids are followed by the η-Aquariids (ETA), which run from 19th April to mid May and peak in early May with a ZHR of 50. However the radiant rises very close to dawn, so don’t expect too much. On the plus side, the Moon won’t have risen!

If you spot an interesting event please email meteor@popastro.com or via @markmac99 on Twitter.

Look out for the Quadrantids

The first meteor shower of 2020 is just around the corner, with the Quadrantids (QUA) expected to peak on the morning of the 4th of January. This is a short-lived but often intense shower. The quoted hourly rate is about 120 but the first-quarter Moon will set around midnight and with the Moon up, a realistic rate is 20-30. Once the Moon sets it should improve.

For more information see the main article here

http://www.popastro.com/main_spa1/meteor/quadrantids/

Meteor Outlook for January and February 2020

The first shower of the year, the Quadrantids (QUA), is usually a pretty good one. The peak this year is on 3rd/4th January. Thewaxing gibbous Moon will set around 1am, so the best time will be in the hours before dawn. Wrap up warm though!

The published hourly rate is 120 for the Quadrantids but this assumes the radiant is directly over above you, there is no moonlight, and you can see in all directions at once.  In fact the radiant will be between 30 and 50 degrees up during the hours between moonset and dawn, and so you might expect to see 10-20 per hour around moonset, perhaps more later.

After the Quadrantids its quiet in the meteor calendar until April. The only shower visible from the Northern Hemisphere is the γ-Ursae Minorids (GUM) on the 10th of Jan with an hourly rate of three, though the December Leonis Minorids (DLM) do run on until February. There are two faint showers, the α-Centaurids (ACE) and γ-Normids (GNO) visible from the Southern Hemisphere but these also have very low rates.

The Anthelion Source is also most easily observed at this time of year. This is a large patch of sky containing a number of weak ill-defined showers.  The centre of the anthelion source starts the year in Gemini and moves into Leo during February. Hourly rates of two to three can be expected from this area of sky about thirty by fifteen degrees.

These faint showers are often best detected using radio or video observation techniques. There’s more on both these techniques on our website.

Meteor Outlook for December 2019

December is one of the best months for meteor hunters. Although the nights are cold, they’re long and dark, and we have one of the most active meteor showers of the year to look forward to.

Early in the month, watch out for the Phoenecids (PHO). Researchers think that the Earth may be about to pass through a denser patch of cometary debris on 2nd Dec, with a possible hourly rate of 12 around 21:30UT and a radiant near theta Ceti (much higher than the normal radiant of this shower which is not a northern hemisphere object).

The Geminids (GEM) are the big event of the year, usually producing even greater numbers than the Perseids. The peak this year on 13th/14th Dec is unfortunately close to the Full Moon but Gemini is well placed from 22.00 onward and with an hourly rate of 150, you should spot some meteors in the early evening even against the moonlight. They’re quite slow moving, can be bright and colourful but do not usually leave trails.

Taking into account the moonlight, a realistic rate is between 7 and 10 per hour. The Geminids run from 4th to 17th Dec. The screenshot below shows the radiant high in the East at 22.00 with that annoying Moon just below!

The Ursids (URS) run from 17th to 26th Dec with a peak on 21st/22nd Dec and an hourly rate of around 10, but with a 20% waning crescent Moon and the radiant high in the North near the box of Ursa Minor, observation conditions are good.

Finally although they peak in early January, the Quadrantids (QUA) start in late December. With an hourly rate of 120 and the moon a waxing crescent, there’s a good chance of seeing some if the skies are clear. The radiant is low in the north east.

There are also several minor showers during December. The Monocerotids (MON) peak on the 9th with a rate of two,  the σ-Hydrids (HYD) peak on the 12th with a rate of around three, the Comae Berenicids (COM) peak on the 16th also with a rate of around three, and the December Leonis Minorids (DLM) peak on the 20th with a rate of around 5. None of these are individually spectacular but it does mean there’s almost constant shower activity in December!

If you do see something please send in a report to meteor@popastro.com or use the link on our website to report it via the IMO. When making a report of a sighting, please include the date, time, your location, the direction in which you saw the object, and rough direction it was going in. This can help us link it to other sightings, and maybe even work out more about the meteoroid that caused it.

Possible outburst of Phoenicids on 23rd Nov and 2nd Dec

eMeteorNews reports that researchers have suggested there may be enhanced activity from the Phoenicids (PHO) on 23rd November and 2nd December, as the Earth passes through denser patches of cometary debris that we last traversed in 1877, 1898 and 1946.

Although the Phoenicids are not normally a northern hemisphere shower, the location of the debris suggests the radiant may be much nearer the ecliptic than normal, somewhere near theta Ceti (01h, -07deg). Meteors from this location would be slow moving and probably quite distinctive.

If you’re operating a video camera or radio detection set, please check your data for the evening of 23rd Nov, and keep an eye out for enhanced activity on the 2nd as well.

More information here https://www.meteornews.net/2019/11/22/forecast-for-phoenicids-pho254-in-2019/

Fireball seen over USA Monday 11th Nov

A bright fireball was seen over eight states in the USA on Monday night.

Analysis suggests it was a 300mm diameter chunk of rock weighing around 90kg and enough may have remained to cause a fall.It was too slow to be a Taurid. Meteorite hunters are converging on the area in the hopes of finding fragments.

More info here.

https://www.ky3.com/content/news/Meteor-over-Missouri-Monday-night-confirmed-by-NASA-564829331.html

 

 

Possible outburst of Alpha-Monocerotids on 22nd Nov.

The IMO is predicting a possible outburst of the alpha-monocerotids on the morning of 22nd November:

“A very short outburst for the alpha Monocerotids (AMO#246) is likely on 2019 November 22, at 04h50m UT at the morning sky over Europe (Jenniskens and Lyytinen, 2019a). This outburst is caused by the dust released by a long period comet, but the comet itself is still unknown.”

More detail here https://www.meteornews.net/2019/11/06/likely-alpha-monocerotids-amo246-outburst-on-the-morning-of-november-22-2019/