Other Meteor Showers of Note

Epsilon Geminids This minor shower peaks around Oct 18. Its nearly coincident with the Orionids which makes it hard to pick out. The ZHR is about three.

The Monocerotids peak around Dec 8/9 with a ZHR of around 3. They’re often misclassified as Geminids so choose a field of view where the two radiants do not line up (Taurus or Leo make good targets).

The Alpha Monocerotids peak around Nov 21, with a ZHR of arund 5. In 1995 there was an outburst which lasted 30 minutes and had a rate of 420 for a brief period, but nothing similar is expected until 2043.

Tau Herculids  This minor meteor shower is associated with the remnants of comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3.  In most years it produces little or no activity.  However, occasionally the Earth will encounter one of the denser filaments of particles within the meteor stream and this can lead to somewhat higher activity.  The location of the Tau Herculid radiant does seem to vary from outburst to outburst, but is generally near RA 14h05m, Dec +30 – within the constellation of Bootes, and somewhat distant from Hercules.

Sigma Hydrids  This minor shower is active in early to mid-December and only produces low activity rates but, over its two-week activity period, produces a significant overall number of meteors. Peak rates occur around Dec 11th.  The radiant is located below the head of Hydra. Note that the radiant doesn’t rise above the horizon until mid-evening and so no Sigma Hydrids will be seen before this time. The best observed rates occur after midnight, when the radiant is climbing higher in the sky. There will be no moonlight interference for the 2018 Sigma Hydrids, with the waxing crescent Moon setting before the radiant rises on Dec 10-11.

December Leo Minorids and Coma Berenicids: The minor Coma Berenicid shower underwent a degree of confusion in recent times, after IMO video results found apparently identically very swift, mostly faint, meteors radiating from an area about 15° west of where previous visual observations had suggested it should be, as well as from the anticipated radiant. It now seems there may be two minor showers active here, of which the December Leo Minorids is marginally the stronger, and apparently the longer-lasting. Initially thought that both peaked around December 20, the Coma shower is now believed to reach its weak maximum a few days sooner (and from a somewhat different position than earlier indicated). It may be that visual observers will struggle to identify the sources as separate, given previous apparent difficulties in this respect. The December Leo Minorid radiant is usefully observable after 22:30 UT, while the Coma Berenicid radiant area is so placed only after 01h.