Meteor Activity Outlook for April 28-May 4, 2018

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            Here is another excellent wide angle composite by Wade Earle of the 2017 Geminids looking south taken from Oregon, USA © Wade Earle

During this period the moon will reach it’s full phase on Monday April 30. At that time the moon will be located opposite the sun and will lie above the horizon all night long. As the week progresses the waning gibbous moon will rise later in the evening but will still seriously impede meteor viewing as the bright glare will obscure all but the brightest meteors. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is 1 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 2 from the southern tropics (25S). For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 5 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 8 from the southern tropics (25S). Rates during this period are reduced due to moonlight. 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 April 28/29 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 21:00 LDT

Radiant Positions at 9:00pm
Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 01:00 LDT

Radiant Positions at 01:00am
Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 5:00 LDT

Radiant Positions at 5:00am Local Daylight Saving Time

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

Details on each source will resume next week when observing conditions are much more favorable.

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
pi Puppids (PUP) Apr 23 07:36 (114) -46 15 18:00 <1 – <1 III
h Virginids (HVI) Apr 30 13:36 (204) -11 17 00:00 <1 – <1 IV
Anthelion (ANT) 15:24 (231) -18 30 02:00 1 – 1 II
Lyrids (LYR) Apr 22 18:28 (277) +34 46 05:00 <1 – <1 I
April rho Cygnids (AEC) Apr 28 21:32 (323) +47 41 08:00 <1 – <1 IV
eta Aquariids (ETA) May 07 22:04 (331) -04 66 08:00 1 – 2 I

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3 comments

  • Sal settecase 6 months ago

    I saw a very large fire ball on 4/29 around 12:30 as I was driving north toward Wisconsin – very big bright and ended in a green color. Can you confirm I was not seei g things?

    Reply to Sal
    • Robert Lunsford 6 months ago

      Sal and All,

      I checked our fireball table and found nothing that matched your time and location. This is not unusual due to the late hour. Most of our fireball sightings are made by solitary witnesses. You can continue to check to see if any reports have been received by visiting: https://www.amsmeteors.org/fireballs/fireball-report/

      Robert Lunsford

      Reply to Robert
  • Julie davis 6 months ago

    I Witnessed what I am certain was a meteor over san Antonio tx at 2am . light noise in the city drowns much of the sky’s clarity.
    My husband witnessed this with me as well.

    Reply to Julie

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