Meteor Activity Outlook for March 4-10, 2017

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AMS Event#791-2017 – Fireball over Texas, 2017-02-26 20:56 CST (2017-02-27 02:56 UT). From Youtube Video @copy; Weatherford, Texas police department

During this period the moon reaches its first quarter phase on Saturday March 4. At this time the moon is located 90 degrees east of the sun and is located high in the sky at dusk. It will remain above the horizon until around 0100, when it sets on the northwestern horizon. The remaining hours of the night will remain moon-free and good for meteor viewing. As this period progresses the waxing gibbous moon will set approximately 45 later with each passing night. By the end of the period the nearly full moon will remain above the horizon nearly all night long. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 for those viewing from the northern hemisphere and 5 for those located south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 7 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 16 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). Evening rates are reduced by moonlight during this period. 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. Note that the hourly rates listed below are estimates as viewed from dark sky sites away from urban light sources. Observers viewing from urban areas will see less activity as only the brightest meteors will be visible from such locations.

The radiant (the area of the sky where meteors appear to shoot from) positions and rates listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning March 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. Viewing there 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.

Radiant Positions at 7pm LST

Radiant Positions at 7:00pm Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at Midnight Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at Midnight Local Standard Time

Radiant Positions at 5am LST

Radiant Positions at 5:00am Local Standard Time

These sources of meteoric activity are expected to be active this week.

The center of the large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently located at 11:48 (177) +01. This position lies in western Virgo, very close to the area occupied by the 4th magnitude star known as Zavijava (beta Virginis). Due to the large size of this radiant, Anthelion activity may also appear from Crater and eastern Leo as well as western Virgo. This radiant is best placed near 0100 local standard time (LST), when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near 2 per hour no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Anthelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately 5 sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near 2 per hour. As seen from the tropical southern latitudes (25S), morning rates would be near 14 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 4 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.

RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Standard Time North-South
Anthelion (ANT) 11:48 (177) +01 30 01:00 2 -2 II



  • asybot 3 weeks ago

    Robert, just found this site and thanks. We are at 50.03 N and 119.24 W in a rural area and have little interference from light sources. Saw a nice fireball tonight ending with red and fragmentation. Last year on March 17 saw a huge fireball that broke up in 5-7 fragments heading from E to W at a low angle to just above the western horizon. Again thanks for the site I am going to study it for a few days to get used to it and will try to learn more about our neighbors in space.

    Reply to asybot
  • Stefanie Vargas 3 weeks ago

    I saw a huge fireball in Modesto ca, that went from red,orange to neon green. I have never seen anything like this. The green ? What is this about? I also saw the Leonids in 2001 about 10 miles outside Modesto Ca. I went to a friends around 1 am woke him up and said come outside. We were freezing but the show was so outstanding ,it was like something out of this world. It was foggy just 10 miles back in Modesto. My friend has a ranch, it was very dark and completely clear. I was astounded by the literally thousands we watched shooting across the sky. It was the most incredibly beautiful show I could ever imagine. It was as if the sky cleared up just for us. Something I will treasure in my memories forever.

    Reply to Stefanie

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