Alpha Monocerotid Outburst in 2019?

- 84 Comments - In: ,

Update:

The first results are in from Europe and the outburst evidently occurred between 04:55 and 05:00 UT, which is 11:55pm to midnight EST. This was a very subdued outburst with only a dozen meteors being seen in the 20 minutes it was active. So enhanced rates for this shower did occur but at a far less rate than we hoped for.

 

Well known meteor scientists Peter Jenniskens and Esko Lyytinen have predicted that there may be an outburst of the alpha Monocertoid meteor shower on the night of November 21/22, 2019. The alpha Monocerotids are active every year producing a few meteors around November 22nd. They are best known for four outbursts that occurred in 1925, 1935, 1985, and 1995. The activity in 1925, 1935 and 1985 were complete surprises but observers were ready for the 1995 event as it was predicted well in advance. This event was caught on video which help pinpoint the radiant which actually lies within the borders of the constellation known as Canis Minor, near the bright star Procyon (alpha Canis Minoris). This area of the sky rises between 2100-2200 local standard time (LST) and stands highest above the horizon between 0300 and 0400 LST.

Unlike most meteor outbursts which last for several hours, strong activity from the alpha Monocertids is over within an hour and easily missed. The outburst is predicted to occur near 04:50 Universal Time therefore western Europe and northwestern Africa are the best locations to view this possible display. Luckily, the moon will not be a factor as it is only 20 percent illuminated and located in the constellation of Virgo. Observers in North America and the Atlantic region can also view this possible display. At the time of the predicted outburst, the radiant will lie near the horizon for observers located on the west coast of North America. From that location only a few long earthgrazers may be seen shooting upward from the eastern horizon. As you move eastward conditions improve with the radiant lying approximately 30 degrees high from the east coast of North America.

Location of the alpha Monocerotid radiant. Courtesy Southern Star Systems

 

During the last outburst in 1995, the maximum zenith HOURLY rate was estimated at 400. The actual number seen was less in most locations as the radiant was located lower in the sky and viewing conditions were less than optimum limiting magnitude of +6.50. This figure is also misleading as it estimates the activity at only the time of maximum and not an entire hour. If this figure were to be reached again in 2019, it would mean that the strongest rate would be near 7 meteors per minute at the moment of maximum activity. Periods only 5 minutes from the time of the outburst could see considerably less activity. These meteors are never spaced evenly but appear in bunches so 2-3 meteors may be seen seconds apart and then an entire minute could go by without any activity. This is still far and away extraordinary activity and should be monitored. Potential observers are encouraged start viewing the sky at least an hour before the predicted time of maximum activity in case the timing estimates are in error. Do not stand and observe, rather use a comfortable lounge chair with plenty of blankets to keep warm. It would be best to face toward the star Procyon so that you can differentiate meteors from the alpha Monocerotids verses other sources. There will be 5-10 random meteors visible per hour while you try and witness any alpha Monocerotids. These random meteors will have all ranges of velocity and lengths. If you face toward Procyon then any alpha Monocerotids seen near this bright star will be short and slow. Those seen further away will be swift and longer but they will all trace backwards toward Procyon. If the moon is above the horizon from your location then move your view more toward the west to keep it out of your field of view.

During possible outbursts such as this it is important that the observer record the time and type of meteor seen. This allows us to determine the exact time of maximum activity. Observers are also encouraged to list the brightness (magnitude) of each meteor. Other parameters that can be recorded are color, velocity, and persistent trains. Observers are encouraged to contribute your data to the IMO by filling out an online observing form as soon as possible after your session has ended. Observing forms are located at: Visual Observing Form 

Please remember that this is a prediction and not a certain event. Potential observers may witness nothing at all but their negative observations will still contribute to our understanding of meteor activity and help us accurately inform the public of other upcoming events.

References:

Jenniskens P. and Lyytinen E. (2019a). Alpha Monocerotids 2019. CBET 4692. D. W. E. Green (editor), IAU, Central Bureau for Electronic Telegrams.

Tags:

84 comments

  • Johnny 3 weeks ago

    Would it still be visible if we looked west? (Away from the moon)

    Reply to Johnny
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Johnny and All,

      The moon is not really a problem, especially in the western hemisphere where it will be below the horizon at the predicted time.

      Reply to Robert
      • Suzi Collinson 3 weeks ago

        I’m a novice but I would like to take my grandkids out to watch. I live in Central Wa, which direction should we be looking? Also, if I understand correctly, our peak viewing time is 8-8:50pm?

        Reply to Suzi
        • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

          Your time is correct and you should be facing eastward. Any activity from this source will appear as long, slow meteors coming from the eastern horizon. Don’t expect too many as the source actually lies below the horizon at the predicted time.

          Reply to Robert
      • Becky Stenberg 3 weeks ago

        Will we see this on the West Coast? If so, time between 8- 10 pm? focusing eastward?

        Reply to Becky
        • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

          You time and direction is good. California is only slightly better off than Washington as the source of these meteors rises a little sooner due to the more southerly location.

          Reply to Robert
  • SHERRY HENDERSON 3 weeks ago

    What time could we expect to see in Central Texas? Sounds like a short time frame to view. Thanks

    Reply to SHERRY
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Central Standard Time is 6 hours behind Universal Time therefore 04:50-06:00 = 10:50pm CST

      Reply to Robert
  • Dan 3 weeks ago

    I’ve been viewing the night sky for nearly 60 years and never heard of these.
    But I’ll be out under the AZ night sky come Thursday and hoping for a great show!
    Good viewing to everyone!

    Reply to Dan
  • Annie 3 weeks ago

    Where would be a good place to view them in the Central Oklahoma area??

    Reply to Annie
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Any place that is safe and dark (away from city lights). You might check with any astronomy groups in Tulsa or Oklahoma City to see if they have any designated sites.

      Reply to Robert
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      If this event actually happens then yes, as long as you have clear skies around 10:50pm CST.

      Reply to Robert
      • Ashlei M 3 weeks ago

        I’m located in western Kentucky so which general direction would be best to face? Also I read that this event could happen up to an hour early, due partly to the fact that it’s just a prediction. Would you suggest to start observing at 8:50?

        Reply to Ashlei
        • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

          It would be better to face eastward. If you go out an hour early the source of these meteors will be below the horizon. 30 minutes early is better and also view 30 minutes later if you don’t see anything at 10:50pm CST.

          Reply to Robert
  • Toby 3 weeks ago

    I live in Bakersfield CA
    And would like to know where I should be looking, I’m talking about the the direction West NWest or Southwest I couldn’t distinguish the direction from the map shown on Accu Weather

    Reply to Toby
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      You need to be facing eastward. Any meteors from this source will be shooting from low in the east around 8:50pm PST.

      Reply to Robert
  • Crystal 3 weeks ago

    Well that just figures… it has been beautiful clear skies here in Southern Oregon for over 3 weeks now, but starting tomorrow afternoon the forecast calls for 10 + days of cloudy skies. Bummed out.

    Reply to Crystal
    • Roxann 3 weeks ago

      Join the Washington state “never see astrological anything, any time.”

      Reply to Roxann
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Yes, it should occur for you near 10:50 CST. I would highly suggest finding a rural area outside town or else the bright lights of the city will obscure the activity.

      Reply to Robert
  • Randy Norton sr 3 weeks ago

    Are we able to see this happening if we live in Indianapolis,Indiana,And if so,witch way do we look into the sky, ? Thank you..

    Reply to Randy
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Everyone with clear skies that live in North America, South America, the Atlantic area, western Europe and NW Africa has a chance to see this event, For those in North America, you need to face eastward to see these meteors shoot upward from the source.

      Reply to Robert
  • Lisa 3 weeks ago

    In which direction should we look from key west, florida?

    Reply to Lisa
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      From Key West look toward the east.

      Reply to Robert
  • Denis 3 weeks ago

    I live at 5200’ elevation in a very dark area of Hawaii Island. Will the Alpha Monocerotids be visa blue here ?

    Reply to Denis
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Unless the predicted time is a couple of hours too early, Hawaii is too far west. This area of the sky will lie far below the horizon in the Hawaiian Islands at the time of the predicted meteor outburst.

      Reply to Robert
  • Chenoa 3 weeks ago

    I live in the pacific north west in Washington state USA. Will it be visible here?

    Reply to Chenoa
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      There is a very slim chance you can see any of this activity. The source of these meteors will lie slightly below the horizon in Washington at the predicted time. So unless it is late or the show extraordinarily strong, you will not see much.

      Reply to Robert
  • John Goga 3 weeks ago

    Will I be able to view this meteor shower in San Diego?

    Reply to John
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Only if it stops raining! Seriously, if the skies clear by 8pm Thursday evening you might see some of this activity shooting from the eastern horizon. The source lies near the horizon at the predicted time of this outburst so only meteors shooting up from the horizon will be visible.

      Reply to Robert
      • Brandon Bowman 3 weeks ago

        I am in Lexington North Carolina what direction should I face?

        Reply to Brandon
  • Jessica C. Kelly 3 weeks ago

    Hello Robert. I live in Jacksonville Florida. I am confused with what will be the best times for me to watch the show. I know that I’m considered EST but 2 time slots are listed in the above article. Can you suggest the time that would be best for me?
    Thank you

    Reply to Jessica
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      This is why scientists use Universal Time, it’s the same all over the world. UT is the same as Greenwich Mean Time which is local time for England when not on Summer Time. So if the time in London is 4:50am and Florida lies 5 time zones west of GMT, then your outburst is predicted for 11:50pm EST on November 21st. I would go out early in case the predicted time is off!

      Reply to Robert
  • Jean Kinion 3 weeks ago

    Hi. I live in Wentzville, Mo (near St Louis). Do I have an opportunity to see it?

    Reply to Jean
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Yes, it should occur for you near 10:50 CST.

      Reply to Robert
  • Walter Salvari 3 weeks ago

    Will this event be visible in Los Angeles, California? Also, I’m a bit confused about the date and time. Is it happening on Thursday, November 21, or November 22nd? Thank you!

    Reply to Walter
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      If this outburst occurs at the predicted time of 8:50pm PST, then viewers in the Los Angeles area will see very little because the source will lie below the horizon. The best one could hope for is a few long meteors shooting upward from the eastern horizon. This would be on Thursday evening November 21st.

      Reply to Robert
  • Kay 3 weeks ago

    I just wanted to say you’re a good guy, Robert! Responding to everyone and helping them figure out where to look. Very kind. Thank you for the interesting read.

    Reply to Kay
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Kay and All,

      You are most welcome!

      Reply to Robert
      • Kelly 3 weeks ago

        Funny this is exactly what I was thinking! Thank you!

        Reply to Kelly
  • Sharyn 3 weeks ago

    I am in South Louisiana – will the show be viewable here? What time? And in which direction?

    Reply to Sharyn
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      If this occurs at 10:50pm CST, then you should be able to see some meteors shooting from the source low in the eastern sky. Start watching a bit early in case the predicted time is incorrect!

      Reply to Robert
  • Tina A 3 weeks ago

    I live in Big Spring Texas and wondering if our time to see this if it unfolds is at 10:50 or 11:50 and east is the way we look?

    Reply to Tina
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Since Texas currently observes Central Standard Time this event is predicted to occur near 10:50pm. The source of these meteors will lie low in the east at that time so that would be the direction to see the most activity.

      Reply to Robert
  • ARLENE SANCHEZ 3 weeks ago

    I live in Northwest Illinois
    Would it be possible to see the meteor showers from our location? If so, which direction should I look at and around what time?
    Thank you

    Reply to ARLENE
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Yes, it should occur for you near 10:50 CST. Look toward the east to see the most activity.

      Reply to Robert
      • Lee 3 weeks ago

        Hi
        I live in Southwest AL.
        Which night?
        What time and direction should I be watching?

        Reply to Lee
        • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

          If I recall correctly SW Alabama is in the central time zone therefore I would watch tonight between 10:20pm and 11:20pm CST as the maximum is predicted for 10:50pm CST. Look toward the east.

          Reply to Robert
  • Shaun 3 weeks ago

    I live in Bogalusa,LA will it be visible to us and if so what time and which way should we look?

    Reply to Shaun
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      If this event occurs it should be visible at 10:50 CDT in Louisiana. I would suggest looking toward the east.

      Reply to Robert
  • Terry 3 weeks ago

    I’m sorry to ask but I do appreciate the reply. Tulsa Oklahoma . Tonight or tomorrow nite and what time?

    Reply to Terry
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      Tonight (11/21) at 10:50pm CST. Look toward the east.

      Reply to Robert
  • Debbie Koop 3 weeks ago

    So for Clayton, North Carolina the time would be from 9pm until about 9:50 pm.

    Reply to Debbie
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      No, the predicted time for the eastern time zone is 11:50pm. I would suggest watching from 11:20pm to 12:20am just in case the prediction is off.

      Reply to Robert
  • Kim Hammond 3 weeks ago

    Helena Mt will we see? What times?

    Reply to Kim
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      From Montana I would watch between 9:20pm-10:20pm MST as the maximum is predicted for 9:50pm MST. Look toward the east.

      Reply to Robert
  • CIG808 3 weeks ago

    Hoping it is a little later I too am in Hawaii.Wondering when someone in the Philippines might be able to see it? I think it maybe still in the afternoon their time…….

    Reply to CIG808
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      The Philippines are out of luck as is all of Asia, Australia, and most of Africa.

      Reply to Robert
      • CIG808 3 weeks ago

        Thank you for getting back to me. I really appreciate you getting back to everyone.

        Reply to CIG808
  • Marcy 3 weeks ago

    I live in Nampa, Idaho. What time would I look for it? TIA, MJ

    Reply to Marcy
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      From Nampa I would watch between 9:20pm-10:20pm MST as the maximum is predicted for 9:50pm MST. Look toward the east.

      Reply to Robert
  • Brittany 3 weeks ago

    In southern new hampshire, what is the best time and direction for me to possibly see anything?

    Reply to Brittany
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      From New Hampshire I would watch between 11:20pm-12:20am EST as the maximum is predicted for 11:50pm EST. Look toward the east.

      Reply to Robert
  • Bob 3 weeks ago

    I live in Philadelphia. How far up in the east sky should I be looking?

    Reply to Bob
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      From Philadelphia the source of these meteors will be approximately 1/3 up in the eastern sky. Remember that city lights will obscure the numerous fainter meteors so your counts will be less from an urban location.

      Reply to Robert
  • Jenny 3 weeks ago

    We will be at the Grand Canyon! What is your suggestion for viewing (if the clouds pass in time)

    Reply to Jenny
  • Justin 3 weeks ago

    I like in western PA, I tried to see between 11:50pm-12:20am but too overcast unfortunately

    Reply to Justin
  • Howard M 3 weeks ago

    I didnt see any earth grazers even. Im in Southern California and it wasnt supposed to be great, but I didnt see even a sporadic.

    Reply to Howard
  • Richard Jarnagin 3 weeks ago

    I just got back from a relatively dark sky site, and nada, nothing, not the first one, complete bust!! I was just outside Palm Coast, FL.

    Reply to Richard
    • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

      The first results are in from Europe and the outburst evidently occurred between 04:55 and 05:00 UT, which is 11:55pm to midnight EST. This was a very subdued outburst with only a dozen meteors being seen in the 20 minutes it was active. So enhanced rates for this shower did occur but at a far less rate than we hoped for.

      Reply to Robert
      • Michel Deconinck 3 weeks ago

        Indeed, during the maximum from 4h53 to 5h09 UTC, I saw 7 AMO. From 3h10 to 5h20 UTC 14 AMO, one LEO and 3 sporadics, all posted via the IMO form, but with 30% obstructed sky by clouds and limit magn of 4 only, so the ZHR must be quite high, isn’t it ?

        What was funny, is that I was able to see 3 meteors together, at 120° from each other and showing clearly the position of the radian.
        Michel

        Reply to Michel
      • Miguel Pluma 3 weeks ago

        No meteors seen from Western North Carolina mountains in total darkness and completely clear sky. Hoping to see a real shower before I die!

        Reply to Miguel
        • Robert Lunsford 3 weeks ago

          You may have a couple of opportunities to see a real shower during the 2020’s.

          Good Luck!

          Reply to Robert
  • Wyatt Robinson 3 weeks ago

    I live in Naperville Illinois will I be able to see it and at what time?

    Reply to Wyatt
  • Norman W McLeod III 3 weeks ago

    No shower members seen from Fort Myers, Florida. I was out there 1115pm – 1245am EST Nov 21/22 (415 – 545 UT Nov 22), on my driveway in town. Sky LM 5.0, about 1/3 obstruction. All I did see was one lonely +3m sporadic. A few tiny clouds coming from the east, temperature pleasant around 66F (19C). As my DCV (Distance from Central Vision when first detected) average was only 6 degrees in the past, and with reduced meteor perception, I figured there wasn’t anything to gain by visiting an unobstructed darker semi-remote site. I see little more than what is close to my central vision. 40 years ago on this date I saw a blue -12m Leonid almost overhead with a train lasting 5 minutes; Thanksgiving morning in 1979, two months after moving over here. Same date in Miami, 1962, I saw a green -3m Andromedid crawl along for 10 full seconds, not long before dawn.

    Reply to Norman
  • Kye Ewing 3 weeks ago

    Tried to register, but can’t seem to get the form to work. Two of us watching from relatively dark skies in Venus, FL (central FL, 100 miles south of Orlando). Clouds cleared about 4:40 UT. Saw 2, maybe 3, coming from the right radiant, all short, swift, similar brightness (fairly faint), all around 4:50 UT, about 10 degrees west of Procyon, running east to west, so probably Monocerotids.

    Reply to Kye
    • Kye Ewing 3 weeks ago

      Regarding my post here, I realize I missed mentioning that we watched from 4:15 UT through 5:15 UT.

      Reply to Kye
  • MA 3 weeks ago

    I saw a meteorite pass right over New London, CT at around 5:30 on on November 22, 2019 while driving am dit was amazing to see!

    Reply to MA
  • Gail Fialkow 3 weeks ago

    I watched from 11:15 pm – 12:30 am EST. With spotty cloud cover, I only saw one probably around midnight. Viewed from my darkish backyard in West Palm Beach, Florida. I was disappointed that I “missed it” because of the cloud cover, but seems that I didn’t miss so much.

    Reply to Gail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *