Meteor Activity Outlook for March 17-23, 2018

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Geminid Meteor Shower 2017 Over Railroad Water Tower at Dos Cabezas Siding –
composite of frames from about 11:21 PM on 12/13/2017 through 1:22 AM on 12/14/2017 -San Diego, CA © Kevin
Canon EOS 6D 15mm – ƒ/2.8 – ISO4000

During this period the moon will reach it’s new phase on Saturday March 17. At that time it will be located near the sun and will be invisible at night. As the week progresses the waxing crescent moon will enter the evening sky and will begin to interfere with meteor observations late in the week. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is 3 as seen from mid-northern latitude (45N) and 4 from the southern tropics (25S). For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 7 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 10 from the southern tropics (25S). 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 brighter 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 17/18. 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 near 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 far 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 8:00pm
Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 01:00 LDT

Radiant Positions at 01:00am
Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 6am LDT

Radiant Positions at 6:00am
Local Daylight Saving Time

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

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The center of the large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently located at 12:40 (190) -04. This position lies in central Virgo, 3 degrees south of the famous 3rd magnitude double star known as Porimma (gamma Virginis). Due to the large size of this radiant, Anthelion activity may also appear from Corvus as well as Virgo. This radiant is best placed near 0200 local daylight saving time (DST), 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 8 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 3 per hour during the evening hours.  Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.

SHOWER DATE OF MAXIMUM ACTIVITY CELESTIAL POSITION ENTRY VELOCITY CULMINATION HOURLY RATE CLASS
RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Daylight Saving Time North-South
Anthelion (ANT) 11:16 (169) -04 30 02:00 2 – 2 II

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7 comments

  • RogersLadyNJ 8 months ago

    Hello! I just saw something falling downward in the sky over north-west Montclair, NJ. I just saw it. Really scared me until i googled and came across this page explaining. #ThanksForTheInfo! By the way, its probably still falling because it seems to be moving slow. Unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough to snap a pic while at the wheel.

    Reply to RogersLadyNJ
    • Sian Slater 8 months ago

      Maybe the International Space Station. You can sign up to get alerts on your cell phone to let you know when the ISS flies over your area. Or another satellite or UFO. ISS is pretty cool to see.

      Reply to Sian
  • Lesley Massey 8 months ago

    I just saw about a dozen glowing balls fallin straight down from the sky! They had what appears to be two white tails making the shape of a V! Some others went more diagonally but downward. It was rather eerie until I came across this site. Fascinated now!

    Reply to Lesley
  • Gerald Luimes 8 months ago

    saw a large meteor in the northern sky, driving in Inkerman Ontario, around 9 pm

    Reply to Gerald
  • Heather Holder 8 months ago

    Hello! My hubs and I enjoyed a night out tonight and wanted to post about seeing a beautiful meteorite falling southeast-east. It was very quick and very bright! Sent a bright flash over the area; you could see it on the ground! I wasn’t able to get a pick, but it was lovely. I’ve only ever seen two in my life so far, all 26 years of it, and they’ve all been while being here in STX. Hoping to see more! 🙂

    Reply to Heather
  • Joe Arroyo 8 months ago

    Last night 3-22-18 around 10 pm, got a surprise view of a beautiful meteorite with an amazing tail in the northern sky from my backyard in NE Dutchess County, NY.

    The night before my birthday, what a gift❤️

    Reply to Joe
  • Dom G 8 months ago

    What was that bright star looking object flying over at about 8:20pm 3/23/2018 . It fly by faster then a plain, further then one too. I was waiting to see if the light would fizzle out or pass by and not shine anymore but it stayed bright with no flickering across the whole sky from south to north. It was pretty cool!

    Reply to Dom

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