Meteor Showers http://www.meteorblog.com Meteor Showers of 2014, Meteors, & Meteorites by MeteorBlog Sun, 27 Jul 2014 19:11:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Perseids Meteor Shower Good Ole’ Reliable http://www.meteorblog.com/perseids-meteor-shower-good-ole-reliable/ http://www.meteorblog.com/perseids-meteor-shower-good-ole-reliable/#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 03:01:09 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1192 It’ that time of year for the Perseids Meteor Shower! Right now, the Earth is passing through fragments and dust trails created by the Comet Swift-Tuttle and this means the Perseids Meteor Shower has started and will be getting stronger … Continue reading

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It’ that time of year for the Perseids Meteor Shower! Right now, the Earth is passing through fragments and dust trails created by the Comet Swift-Tuttle and this means the Perseids Meteor Shower has started and will be getting stronger each day until its peak on August 12th. Lewis Swift and Horace Parnell-Tuttle discovered the Swift-Tuttle Comet in July of 1862. The comet passed by Earth in 1992 and will not return again until 2126, however the dust that follows this comet creates a dependable annual meteor shower, the Perseids.

Perseids Meteor Shower Good Ole’ Reliable

get-site-likeThe Perseids is named after constellation Perseus because meteors seem to spread out from an area surrounding the constellation, this is called the radiant. The Perseids Meteor Shower is one of the world’s most famous astronomical summertime events and is called “Ole Reliable” because the Perseids always seems to be an enjoyable strong August meteor shower. The reason for its popularity is that people living in the northern hemisphere are usually treated to warmer weather which makes viewing much more enjoyable. Trust me, I know from years of experience and have been known to stand out in the freezing cold for hours (warm weather is better).

The Perseids Meteor Shower will peak in the morning of August 12 where meteors can be seen anywhere in the sky. The main thing to viewing any meteor shower is to find a safe, dark place away from man-made lights and lean back in a relaxing position looking toward the darkest part of the sky. Sometimes the Moon can be a hindrance, but this year the Moon will not be shedding much light, so this means more visible meteors.

Perseids Meteor Shower Radiant

Perseids Meteor Shower Radiant

Perseids Meteor Shower General Rules

As a general rule for this meteor shower I say look to the northeast, but no one ever really knows where meteors will appear. I’d like to give you an exact time to view the shower, but meteor shower observation still remains one of the most complicated astronomical events to foresee, so having said that, try observing in the late evening of August 11th into the early morning of August 12th.  get-site-likeMeteor showers are misunderstood, a lot of people think they are nighttime events, they’re actually better seen closer to dawn and I’ve heard this year some scientists believe that the Perseids could produce up to 100 or more meteors per hour so there will be no lack of chances to see meteors skipping across the sky.

The Perseids Meteor Shower consists of meteoroids mostly as small as a grain of sand but occasionally softball size meteoroids will create large fireballs. I truly don’t know what to expect and for me that’s part of the excitement. Additionally, Perseids meteors enter the Earth’s atmosphere at amazingly fast speeds as high as 133,000 mile per hour and even though most are the size of a grain of sand you’ll still see them glowing and whizzing through the air. Perseids are not usually known for massive fireballs, but anything is possible.

Your questions and comments are always welcome. Please bookmark the site, join the mailing list and if you have enjoyed my articles please consider buying me a cup of coffee to keep me alert for meteor shower viewing in the morning!

Keep your head up!

– Meteor Mark

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July Meteor Shower Schedule http://www.meteorblog.com/july-meteor-shower-schedule/ http://www.meteorblog.com/july-meteor-shower-schedule/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 22:47:38 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=640 Meteor shower activity in July is minimal until the end of the month where there are three minor meteor showers taking place. July Meteor Shower Schedule Shower Name Start Date Max Date End Date Piscis Austrinids July 15 July 28 … Continue reading

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Meteor shower activity in July is minimal until the end of the month where there are three minor meteor showers taking place.

July Meteor Shower Schedule
Shower Name Start Date Max Date End Date
Piscis Austrinids July 15 July 28 August 10
South. δ-Aquariids July 12 July 28 August 19
α-Capricornids July 3 July 30 August 15
Perseids July 17 August 12 August 24

A minor annual shower is one that produces a peak ZHR greater than 1 but less than 10 and appears consistently on an annual basis. Other than the South. δ-Aquarids these showers are relatively non-existent. The South. δ-Aquarids is capable of producing up to 20 meteors per hour on its peak date of July 28, 2009 and the other showers will probably max out at about 5 meteors per hour on their peak dates. Occasionally minor meteor showers produce little surprises in activity but it is unlikely that these showers will be the ones.

The South. δ-Aquarids is better viewed from the southern hemisphere and its radiant Aquarius is where it gets the name. I wouldn’t get overly excited about this meteor shower or any of the meteor showers in July, but I do promise you that next month, the Perseids is worth a look and some observers consider it to be the best meteor shower of the year.

Please bookmark the site and keep your head up!

– Meteor Mark

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I’ve had decent experiences with Edwin Golf. Click on the banner on the right hand side here and try their products. For every person that buys, I get a little credit to my account. Thanks to all of you in advance who click and buy…

Enjoy Golf!

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Next Meteor Shower – June Bootids http://www.meteorblog.com/next-meteor-shower-june-bootids/ http://www.meteorblog.com/next-meteor-shower-june-bootids/#comments Sun, 01 Jun 2014 04:15:29 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=611 The next meteor shower is the June Bootids, this is the first summer shower. The Bootids meteor shower starts June 22nd and peaks on June 27th and ends July 2nd.  The shower’s parent comet orbits our Sun once about every … Continue reading

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June Bootids Meteor Shower

June Bootids Meteor Shower

The next meteor shower is the June Bootids, this is the first summer shower. The Bootids meteor shower starts June 22nd and peaks on June 27th and ends July 2nd.  The shower’s parent comet orbits our Sun once about every six years or so; the Comet 7P/Pons-Winnecke reached a point closest to our Sun in  September of 2008 (known as the perihelion when an planet, comet or asteroid is closest to the Sun in its orbit).

In 1998 and 2004 the June Bootids had some amazing outbursts reaching up to one hundred meteors per hour (100 ZHR). However, please don’t expect this same type of activity, but there are a few good things going for this shower for those of us viewing from the northern hemisphere. The meteor shower peaks in the morning of June 27th with a new moon in the sky; this means less moonlight will be present and the shower’s radiant will be relatively high in the sky after midnight due west.  This is good news because both of these factors make the possibility for seeing more meteors streak gallantly across the sky greater.

There are some that believe because the parent comet of this meteor shower passed so closely to Earth in 2008 that this year will be an excellent year with variable ZHRs as high as one hundred per hour again. I am always trying to be positive and enthusiastic but I also try to remain realistic as well. So I think the shower is worth a view but don’t get your hopes up too high, one never knows when it comes to meteor showers, just get out there and have a look.

Keep Your Head Up!

– Meteor Mark

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May Meteor Showers Prevail http://www.meteorblog.com/may-meteor-showers-prevail/ http://www.meteorblog.com/may-meteor-showers-prevail/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 15:51:15 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1757 The follow-up to the Lyrids meteor shower has already started. Since April 19th the Eta Aquariids meteor shower has been very active. As the weather heats up in the northern hemisphere, meteor shower events become more prolific and dynamic. Around … Continue reading

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Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

The follow-up to the Lyrids meteor shower has already started. Since April 19th the Eta Aquariids meteor shower has been very active. As the weather heats up in the northern hemisphere, meteor shower events become more prolific and dynamic.

Around May 3rd this meteor shower will become even more frisky. One thing nice about the Eta Aquariids is that it’s known to have a full week of activity. So before its peak on May 6th, you could be treated to even more meteors streaming across the morning and evening sky. Expect to see 15 to 20 meteors per hour. Then, in the morning of May 6th, the meteor shower may explode with up to 50 meteors per hour.

How did the Eta Aquariids get its name?

It was named after the constellation Aquarius, as it appears to radiate from this cluster of stars. Meteor enthusiasts should be able to see a meteor per minute. This is due to lack of moonlight, as the moon will be in the waning crescent phase, shedding virtually no “light pollution”.

When and where should one look to see this meteor shower?

I’ve stated before that meteors can be seen anywhere in the sky. But you can’t be straining your neck, trying to search the whole sky. So it’s always better to pick a spot and concentrate on it. The best starting point to start looking for this shower is the meteor shower’s radiant.

What’s the radiant?

The radiant for the Eta Aquariids, for people living north of the equator is Aquarius. The constellation Aquarius is located, low on the horizon in the south-eastern sky. For those south of the equator, Aquarius is located more toward the east and higher in the sky. Remember, meteors will seem to emanate from the radiant. So tracing the backward path of a meteor will usually point to the constellation, after which the meteor shower is named.

Meteor Shower and a Comet - Credit: NASA

A Comet – Credit: NASA

A comet is the cause of the Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower

In fact, the comet responsible for this meteor shower is one of the most famous comets of all time, Halley’s Comet. Even though Halley’s Comet came near Earth in 1986, we still pass through the remnants of its tail, every successive year since. Also, even before Halley’s Comet made its last spectacular Earth visit, it’s mere travelling through space was producing Eta Aquariids meteor events on an annual basis.

Why do meteor showers happen at the same time each year?

Comets are always on time! We happen to pass through the dust trails and debris of a comet that orbits our Sun, at the same time each year. Furthermore, for thousands upon thousands of years meteoroids get pulled into the path of the parent comet and then blast into Earth’s atmosphere. The result is a consistent meteor shower that never runs out of ammunition. The great Halley’s Comet is responsible for more than one meteor shower every year. The next shower on its calender is the Orionids Meteor Shower in October.

Eta Aquariids meteor shower facts:

Let’s talk about speed! Eta Aquariids meteors move at 68 kilometers per second or approximately 150,000 plus miles per hour! They are bright and will create smoke trails or persistent trains. Get out there and don’t miss out on all the action!

Here are the dates for the next meteor shower.

η-Aquariids Meteor Shower
Start Date: April 19
Peak Date: May 6
End Date: May 28

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If you like what you read here on MeteorBlog then please join my mailing list. You can “buy me a cup of coffee” by using the sponsors on this site or even directly using the contribution box on the right hand side of this page. I’m thankful and happy to provide this information to you! When you’re out looking at this meteor shower remember one of the best part about meteor showers is…

Keep your head up.

– Meteor Mark

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Meteor Shower – The Lyrids – April http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-the-lyrids-april/ http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-the-lyrids-april/#comments Mon, 01 Apr 2013 00:01:12 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1607 Between the months of January and March, leading up to April, there’s not a lot of meteor shower activity. With the exception of the the Quadrantids, which occurs in the month of January, there’s just not much else to watch. … Continue reading

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meteor showersBetween the months of January and March, leading up to April, there’s not a lot of meteor shower activity. With the exception of the the Quadrantids, which occurs in the month of January, there’s just not much else to watch. However as soon as April opens her doors, things start to heat up.

The Lyrids Meteor Shower peaks in the month of April – setting the stage for the entrance of the prime annual meteor showers of 2013. The Lyrids has its major meteor activity after midnight, in the early morning hours of April 22.

Following on from the Lyrids is a minor meteor shower called the Pi-Puppids. This meteor shower peaks on April 23. However its activity won’t be stellar as a major shower or as energetic, due to its weak stream. In early May, another meteor shower worth looking out for is the eta-Aquariids. It has its peak in the early morning hours on May 6.

One of the Summer months’ highlights is a true giant of a meteor shower – the Perseids Meteor Shower. This glamorous event peaks in August and is well worth seeing.

April has a much better climate for individuals within the Northern Hemisphere, so it’s a great time to get fired up for the meteor viewing season. The warmer weather makes for a more comfortable viewing experience, with more chances to see more meteors.

What About the Lyrids Meteor Shower?

The Lyrids Meteor Shower may be the earliest recorded meteor shower, found in referenced documentation throughout the Chou Empire time period, around 687 AD. It was documented when a Chinese onlooker wrote in a journal, “at night, fixed stars are invisible, at midnight, stars dropped down like rain”.

The Lyrids takes its title from the glowing stars that form the constellation Lyra. The constellation Lyra is named after an old stringed device – much like the harp.

meteor showersWhat exactly is the source of this meteor shower?

Sometime in 1861, novice astronomer as well as teacher, A.E. Thatcher found the comet that produces the meteoroid stream for the Lyrids. Like most comet discoverers, they get to decide the name. In this case it was named, Comet Thatcher – after its discoverer.

The Thatcher Comet orbits the Sun every 415 years. It’s due to be visible from Earth again in 2276. The crux of meteor shower activity for most meteor showers lies in the streams of dust that follow the comet’s orbit. So, every year in April Earth passes through the path of this comet, resulting in a spectacular celestial display called the Lyrids Meteor Shower.

When Do You Look?

No matter where you are in the world, the best time to view a meteor shower is after midnight. So for this one, I said the peak is April 22. This means that on the night of April 21. it will start to build strength. After midnight it should start to get stronger, until the early morning hours. You may want to look at a more detailed explanation of “midnight” in my meteor viewing page on the site.

Do You Wish Upon a Falling Star?

The peak of the Lyrids Meteor Shower falls on the same day as Earth Day. So make a wish for planet Earth and enjoy watching this meteor shower. Keep in mind some much better meteor showers are set to be arriving soon!

-Meteor Mark

April Meteor Shower Schedule

Lyrids Meteor Shower
Call Now: 888-989-5062Start Date: April 16
Peak Date: April 22
End Date: April 25

π-Puppids Meteor Shower
Start Date: April 15
Peak Date: April 23
End Date: April 28

η-Aquarids Meteor Shower
Start Date: April 19
Peak Date: May 6
End Date: May 28

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Meteor Shower and Comet http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-and-comet/ http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-and-comet/#comments Wed, 13 Mar 2013 19:06:54 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1684 It’s a fact that meteor showers are caused by comets. Right now there is a minor meteor shower happening but it isn’t related to the naked-eye visible comet. Comet Pan-STARRS will be visible in the western horizon at dusk. In … Continue reading

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It’s a fact that meteor showers are caused by comets. Right now there is a minor meteor shower happening but it isn’t related to the naked-eye visible comet. Comet Pan-STARRS will be visible in the western horizon at dusk.

Comet In the month of March the comet will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere. If you want to try and view the comet, have a look in the early evening. Look where the sun sets and gaze right after. You’re not looking for an object whizzing through the sky like a meteor. A comet, even though it is moving very fast will appear stationary to viewers. However, it will change its location and appear to move northward. As the month goes on, it will be in front of the constellation Pisces and then meander over the constellations Andromeda and Pegasus.

Meteor Shower Fact

Some meteor showers are caused by comets. As our Earth orbits the sun, it will pass through the dust trails created by comets. In the month of May and October, probably the most famous comet of all time is the source of a meteor shower. Halley’s Comet is responsible for the Orionids Meteor Shower in October and the upcoming May Eta Aquariids.

As Halley’s Comet orbits our Sun and returns to view from Earth every 75 to 76 years it leaves behind streams of meteoroids of which Earth will pass through every year at the same time. Another very famous meteor shower, the Perseids, is caused by a comet. In 1862, Lewis Swift and Horace Parnell-Tuttle discovered the Swift-Tuttle Comet and since then it has been identified as the source of this prolific August meteor shower, the Perseids.

Will Comet Pan-STARRS create a Meteor Shower?

You won’t see any extra meteors in the sky as a result of Comet Pan-STARRS being visible, here’s why. Remember, meteor showers can be caused by the Earth passing through the trails of comets. This comet is over 100 million miles (160+ million kilometers) away from our planet and we will not be passing through its path of meteoroids and dust.

Tonight is definitely a good time to view Comet Pan-STARRS. So, before I go out there and take a look, I’ll leave you with one more interesting fact. Unlike Halley’s Comet, Comet Pan-STARRS will not be back any time soon. Comet Pan-STARRS is only passing us by. I hear it may return in some number of millions of years… until then…

Keep your head up,

-Meteor Mark

comet orbit

There’s a minor meteor shower happening right now: Gamma Normids

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Meteor Shower Minutus http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-minutus/ http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-minutus/#comments Wed, 06 Mar 2013 00:01:42 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1559 This meteor shower will produce minimal results so don’t get too excited. The meteor shower is happening tonight and every night until March 22nd. The Gamma Normids Meteor Shower (γ-Normids) peaks in the morning of March 14th and even then … Continue reading

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This meteor shower will produce minimal results so don’t get too excited. The meteor shower is happening tonight and every night until March 22nd. The Gamma Normids Meteor Shower (γ-Normids) peaks in the morning of March 14th and even then you probably wouldn’t notice a difference between the amount of meteors you see tonight or then.

Minor Meteor Shower

This meteor shower is a minor meteor shower. It’s nothing at all like the more spectacular and world famous Perseids Meteor Shower of August. At it’s peak the Gamma Normids Meteor Shower will produce up to six extra meteors an hour.

So why am I saying “six extra meteors an hour”?

meteor showerThere are always sporadic meteors in the sky. If you were to go outside tonight and observe, you might see a meteor that is not part of a specific meteor shower. These are known as “sporadic meteors”. Sporadic meteors are not part of a meteor shower.

The problem with seeing sporadic meteors is that they will be located in any place in the sky. Unlike meteor showers that have a vicinity (also know known as a radiant) as where they are more likely to appear. They appear more randomly. Considering how fast meteors travel and the streaks of light they produce can be rather faint, it’s difficult to see them.

So let’s go back to the Gamma Normids Meteor Shower (γ-Normids)

During the peak of this meteor shower, the Moon and man-made light in the sky will degrade from the amount of meteors one can see. The γ-Normids is not a heavy stream of meteors and this year the conditions are pretty lousy being that the moon is in a last quarter phase. In fact, I’m being nice, I would classify the viewing experience as poor.


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Save the S’mores and Marshmallows tonight

I recall once; I overstated the amount of meteors in a meteor shower peak and received a really long contact form message from a person that I “wasted their time”. I’m looking forward to beating the lawsuit. So, it’s up to you to decide if you’d like to go out and look, you never know, you may see some meteors.

Please join the newsletter in the upper right hand corner of this page to keep your eyes on my blog for more posts about the April Meteor Shower, the Lyrids. If you really feel inspired and like what you read, you can make a contribution to the “Buy Meteor Mark A Cup of Coffee” fund (located on the right sidebar) as I’ll need some because even though I said the Gamma Normids Meteor Shower will probably be a dud, I’ll be out there watching tonight.

In the meantime, keep your head up,

-Meteor Mark

P.S. “Minutus” means “small” in Latin; therefore not the name of this meteor shower.

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Meteor Shower Activity http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-activity/ http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-activity/#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2013 19:32:16 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1543 Meteor Showers are caused by small particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Some of these particles can be as small as a grain of sand, whereas others are the size of stones on a beach. There are exceptions to the size … Continue reading

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Meteor Showers are caused by small particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Some of these particles can be as small as a grain of sand, whereas others are the size of stones on a beach. There are exceptions to the size of the meteors, as recently seen in Russia.

In fact, scientists are saying that the Russian meteor was 50 to 60 feet in diameter and weighed about 10,000 tons. Considering that billions of particles hit the earth each day and rarely make it to the ground, this one was exceptionally huge and extremely rare. In general meteoroids range in size from that of a pebble to a golf ball. This makes the Russian meteor a very unusual anomaly.

meteor showerI don’t have much to add on the topic of the “Russian Fireball”, because so much has been written about the subject. It’s hard to gauge what is truth or speculation. So for me, I’m bowing out of the conversation as the purpose of this site is to report on current meteor showers and meteors rather than conspiracy theories.

You may or may not know that meteor showers are caused by dust particulars and meteoroids that follow behind the path of a comet or in rare instances and asteroid. As the Earth passes through the dust trails of these celestial bodies, meteor showers occur. Certain meteor showers will occur at the same time each year. Not all meteor showers are equal – some are very active with many meteoroids entering the Earth’s atmosphere and others are much weaker with only a few meteor events.

So, I started to ponder the Question…

Do Meteor Showers Ever Run Out of Meteors?

I suppose technically, they could run out of meteoroids and dust. But one should consider the source of meteor showers. When comets orbit our Sun they go far out into our Solar System and gravity pulls particles into its path. Comets are usually rather large and as they get close to the Sun they melt and meteoroids will “drip” into its path. Since a comet has tons of rocks, ice and metals within it’s nucleus and tail, a meteor shower will definitely have fuel for a very long time.

It’s safe to say that I don’t know how long a meteor shower will last. However,as long as there is gravitational pull related to the source causing it and the body gets replenished by particles, then a meteor shower will last millions of years. Some years the shower will produce a lot of activity and some years it won’t.

Meteor Showers

That is the beauty of a meteor shower – one never knows exactly what to expect. They have been around for a long time and only time will tell if they will last forever or not. I can say with a degree of certainty that they won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

In the meantime, keep your head up.

-Meteor Mark

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Meteor Shower – A Minor Difference http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-minor-difference/ http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-minor-difference/#comments Wed, 06 Feb 2013 19:41:18 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1104 There is a difference between a major meteor shower and a minor meteor shower. Minor meteor showers are events that produce little observable activity, usually less than ten meteors per hour, however they do occur at similar times during the … Continue reading

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Meteor Shower

Meteor Shower

There is a difference between a major meteor shower and a minor meteor shower. Minor meteor showers are events that produce little observable activity, usually less than ten meteors per hour, however they do occur at similar times during the year.  It is also quite often that a Greek letter is used at the start of the minor meteor shower’s name.

For example, the Greek letter “γ” or Gamma is placed at the start of the shower’s name.  The minor meteor shower occurring now, the (γ-Normids) Gamma Normids will start February 25th and will continue to be active until March 22nd.Meteor Shower - Crescent Moon The shower should be the strongest on March 14th, but don’t expect to see meteors shimmering all over the sky for this one is just a minor event. If you want to give this meteor shower a chance, try going out in the morning hours of March 14th and look for the constellation Norma. The bad news is that there will be little activity, but the good news is that a waxing crescent Moon with only 8% of the Moon visible will be in the sky. This means that if there are meteors, one should be able to spot them in a dark morning sky.  Norma is a small triangle of stars between Scorpius and Centaurus. Scorpius is best known for contrasting blue and yellow stars within it and it’s large size in the sky. Meteor shower viewers might see about six to ten meteors per hour during the peak and a few scattered meteors during the showers start to finish.

Not all Meteor are Part of a Meteor Shower

On an additional note, not all meteors that one observes have to be part of a specific meteor shower. There are plenty of sporadic meteors that streak across the sky each year. On any given night or morning a viewer may see about five meteors not associated with any particular event. These meteors are called “sporadic meteors” as they are capricious and can be seen virtually anywhere in the sky.

The next meteor shower of any real intensity is the Lyrids Meteor Shower that occurs in April. Please bookmark the site and join the mailing list because better and stronger meteor showers are on the way!

Keep your head up.

– Meteor Mark

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Quadrantids Meteor Shower Alert http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-2011-january-quadrantids/ http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-shower-2011-january-quadrantids/#comments Wed, 02 Jan 2013 19:24:02 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1382 The next upcoming meteor shower is one of my favorites, the January 2013 Quadrantids. The last three years, the Quadrantids was not as active as it was in 2009, where I was stunned by how full of life this meteor … Continue reading

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The next upcoming meteor shower is one of my favorites, the January 2013 Quadrantids. The last three years, the Quadrantids was not as active as it was in 2009, where I was stunned by how full of life this meteor shower was. This Meteor Shower is known to generate up to 120 meteors per hour. In 2009, the meteors appeared to be a bluish-white in color and the Quadrantids seemed to flicker, blink and roll as they splashed across the sky at a staggering speed of about 41 kilometers per second (or 92,000 mph). As they popped into view, their activity came downward from their radiant with a cheery gate as if to say, “look here!” before they quickly disappeared. This event commenced on December 28th 2012 and will continue to be active until January 12th 2013. The Quadrantids have a very short peak with a window of opportunity to see them in their full strength in the morning of January 4th.

Where to look for and identify the Quadrantids? Firstly, one should locate the Big Dipper using the diagram below. Quadrantids can be seen anywhere in the sky and if you see one in an area, you’re likely to see more in that spot, so keep your eyes transfixed to that location.

Where to Look

As I stated there is a very short period where the chances of tracking them visually is strong. This makes for a difficult viewing experience for those who don’t have the patience or time to spend on watching this event for a long period of time. In the morning hours of January 4th, weather permitting it will be virtually perfect for spotting the Quadrantids this year. As with most meteor showers they are best seen in the morning hours before daybreak.

What is the radiant and why Bootes?

The radiant, a region where the meteors will seem to emanate from is the constellation Bootes. This constellation was originally named Quadrans Muralis. In 1922, Quadrans Muralis was not added to the new list of eighty-eight modern constellations. The name was changed to Bootes, but the name of the meteor shower, the Quadrantids, remained the same.

The Quadrantids are a fascinating meteor shower for a couple of reasons. The first is because the majority of meteor showers are associated with a specific comet and second is that meteor showers get their name or radiant from the constellation where they seem to originate. These two “rules” do not apply to the Quadrantids Meteor Shower. The parent body of the Quadrantids is not a comet, it is a near-earth asteroid named 2003 EH1 and their radiant constellation name is Bootes. There has been speculation by many scientists that the event’s parent is a piece of the comet C/1490 Y1 that crumbled almost 500 years ago. It was only in 2003 that the origin of the Quadrantids was known. A group of scientists designed a mathematical equation that turned their attention to the acknowledged source, the asteroid 2003 EH1.

In 2009, this meteor shower was one of the more appealing meteor showers that I viewed but it only lasted for a short period of time. In 2010 and 2012, it was very weak and threatened by a glowing moon coupled with extremely cold weather in the morning when I observed. This year I hope it will deliver greater meteor activity like it did in 2009 and with warmer temperatures. The best thing that can contribute to a worthwhile showing will be the fact that there will be no moon in the sky. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

If you would like to take a look at this meteor shower, I suggest finding a safe, dark area and locate the constellation Bootes in the morning of January 4th. This year the Quadrantids will be competing with moonlight because of the Waxing Gibbous Moon phase. This means viewers will see less meteors. If this shower is as strong as it was in 2009, it will undoubtedly be worth a look. In 2009, I witnessed about 1 to 3 meteors a minute or about 80 to 120 an hour. This year I feel it will probably not be the same, however I make no guarantee that it will be good nor bad as the conditions and meteoroids streams are always unpredictable and changeable.

Your questions and comments are welcome. If you enjoyed my blog and found this information useful, why not buy me a cup of coffee? I can use them during the morning on January 4th while watching the Quadrantids!

Keep your head up.

- Meteor Mark
Quadrantids Meteor Shower January 2013

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Meteor Showers of November 2011 http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-showers-of-november-2011/ http://www.meteorblog.com/meteor-showers-of-november-2011/#comments Sat, 05 Nov 2011 14:46:12 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1432 There are three meteor showers starting in November. Of the three meteor showers; two will peak and the other will be at its maximum in December. The meteor showers of November are the Leonids, the α-Monocerotids and the Phoenicids.  There … Continue reading

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Leonids Fireball by George Varros - NASA

Leonids Fireball Image Credit by George Varros NASA

There are three meteor showers starting in November. Of the three meteor showers; two will peak and the other will be at its maximum in December. The meteor showers of November are the Leonids, the α-Monocerotids and the Phoenicids.  There are two other meteor showers that have been active for months coming to an end, the minor meteor showers, the Southern and Northern Taurids.

The Leonids Meteor Shower is the strongest meteor shower of November and will produce approximately twenty visible meteors per hour during its maximum in the morning hours of November 18th. This event starts November 6th and is caused by a comet named 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. This comet was very close to Earth in 1998 and subsequently thereafter produced a huge meteor storm in 2001. These events were unexpected and the Leonids for the most part can be very unpredictable.

What can you expect this year from the Leonids?

One can expect the moon to be a factor. The moon will be in its last quarter phase on November 18th and will be shedding some light into the sky. Light is a major inhibitor of meteor showers as it causes light pollution, which makes it more difficult to spot meteors. This year scientists are claiming that most of the particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere will be smaller than usual. I would love to tell you that this meteor shower is going to be as grand as the one that occurred in 2001, but I have to tell you to keep your expectations low.

When to look?

We should be observing this meteor shower whenever we can. There is nothing wrong with gazing at the skies in search of meteors. But believe me I know most of you have busy lives. I always get asked, “When is the best time to look?” So here’s your answer. Look in the morning hours of November 18th and use the illustration below to locate the constellation Leo.

Leonids Meteor Shower - Use the Big Dipper to Locate the Constellation Leo

The two other smaller meteor showers:

α-Monocerotids starts on November 15th and will have its greatest activity on November 22nd and the Phoenicids will start at the end of the month and will have its peak December 6th. Both of these showers are considered minor and will most likely produce little activity. I’d like to note that it is very difficult to predict when an outburst will occur, so the more seasoned viewer who has time to spend outdoors may spot some greater activity.

Quick Schedule:

Meteor Shower Start Maximum End ZHR
Southern Taurids Sep 25 Nov 5 Nov 25 5+
Nothern Taurids Sep 25 Nov 12 Nov 25 5+
Leonids Nov 6 Nov 18 Nov 30 20+
α-Monocerotids Nov 15 Nov 22 Nov 25 Low
Phoenicids Nov 28 Dec 6 Dec 9 Low

I will be out watching the shower several times during the month and I welcome your comments and questions. Feel free to use the search button in the top right corner. So with no further ado, I’m off to gaze at some meteors, in the meantime I’ll be keeping my head up, will you?

Keep your head up!

– Meteor Mark

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Meteor Shower – Orionids http://www.meteorblog.com/orionids-meteor-shower-meteors/ http://www.meteorblog.com/orionids-meteor-shower-meteors/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2011 23:12:45 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1416 Just like for centuries, the Orionids Meteor Shower has been occurring each year consistently in October. The dust particles of Halley’s Comet (IP/Halley) enter the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of 90,000+ miles per hour. Sounds amazing I’m sure since Halley’s … Continue reading

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Moon Will Effect Your View of the Orionids Meteor Shower 2010Just like for centuries, the Orionids Meteor Shower has been occurring each year consistently in October. The dust particles of Halley’s Comet (IP/Halley) enter the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of 90,000+ miles per hour. Sounds amazing I’m sure since Halley’s Comet is in orbit around the Sun and was closest to Earth in 1986.

The Orionids Meteor Shower has already started to produce activity in the morning skies around the northern hemisphere. It started October 2nd and will be active until early November. The Orionids has a few days before and after the peak that are more active than other days. This is a unique feature called a “submaxima”. Viewers can anticipate the strongest activity to take place in the morning of October 21st, but the period of days that lead up to the peak and after the peak called “submaxima activity” means that strong outbursts may occur between October 18th and October 24th at any time. So why not have a look as soon as you can? Meteor shower outbursts are nearly impossible to predict.

Orionids Meteor Shower

Orionids Meteor Shower Radiant

As mentioned earlier, Orionids enter the Earth’s atmosphere at 90,000+ miles per hour which compared to other meteor showers is consider medium speeds. The Orionids seem to originate from the constellation Orion near the red/orange star named Betelgeuse. This year, the Moon will create a medium amount of light pollution because it will be coming off a last quarter phase. Not only is the Moon a factor, but also man-made sources of light can make it difficult to view this event. Under perfect low-light conditions, viewers may see up to one meteor every three minutes. However, based on the circumstances I’ve discussed, I don’t think this will be the case this year. I do believe the meteor shower is worth observing and viewing for at least thirty minutes to an hour in mornings before and after the peak, October 21st.

To best view this meteor shower, one must go to a safe dark place in the morning and look toward the constellation Orion. The meteors can and will streak anywhere in the sky but will seem to originate from Orion. Orion, the meteor shower’s radiant is where they get their name from. Almost all meteor showers are named after their constellation or radiant, which is the point in the sky where they seem to originate. In May, Halley’s Comet is also responsible for another meteor shower called the Eta-Aquariids where the dust hits Earth at a different angle and the point of entry seems to come from the constellation Aquarius, hence we get the Eta-Aquariids.

The reason why I get so excited about this meteor shower is because it is the first of three meteor showers that are worth looking at before the end of the year. It is also nice to go outside and enjoy clear cool nights watching the stars after a lull in meteor shower activity since early August. The next meteor showers of interest are the Leonids in November and the Geminids of December.

As always, if you’ve enjoyed my writing and the information that I provide on this site, please use the “A Coffee for Meteor Mark” section. Believe me, I really need the coffee to keep me up in the morning whilst observing meteor showers. Please join our mailing list, bookmark the site and keep your head up.

– Meteor Mark

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Draconids – A Meteor Shower or Storm? http://www.meteorblog.com/draconids-a-meteor-shower-or-storm/ http://www.meteorblog.com/draconids-a-meteor-shower-or-storm/#comments Tue, 04 Oct 2011 19:32:56 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1396 The Draconids Meteor Shower could prove to be the greatest meteor shower in the past few years or be challenged by a nearly full moon. I always like to err on the side of caution about meteor showers and keep … Continue reading

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Draconids Meteor Shower RadiantThe Draconids Meteor Shower could prove to be the greatest meteor shower in the past few years or be challenged by a nearly full moon. I always like to err on the side of caution about meteor showers and keep my expectations low. I have to admit, the allure of telling everyone that the Draconids Meteor Shower could be an amazing meteor storm is quite tempting. A meteor storm is a very strong meteor shower. An average major meteor shower will produce anywhere from 40 to 80 visible meteors per hour. The Draconids Meteor Shower has the chance to produce 60 to 600 meteors per hour!

So now that you have the information, I’m sure you’re wondering when and where do I look? If you live in the Americas unfortunately you’re not going to see many meteors because the proposed peak will be during the daytime for you. But this doesn’t mean you should just give up. I suggest three viewing sessions for USA residents and they are: October 8th between 12:01am and dawn, the darkest point of early evening say around 6:00pm onward to midnight and then final October 9th from 12:01am until dawn.

Draconids Meteor Shower Radiant

Draconids Meteor Shower Radiant

Now if you live in Europe, the best proposed activity will be on October 8th between 17:00 GMT and 20:00 GMT. You can also follow the above times that I suggested for the Americas. This meteor shower has the chance to be truly amazing. I have to warn you, the moon will be very bright and usually this means it will be hard to see these meteors especially because they are relatively faint and small.

If you would like to learn a little more about the Draconids, please take a look at the blog I did in 2009 (Draconids Information).  It contains more information about meteor storm activity and the source and cause of the Draconids Meteor Shower.  If you’re planning on going outside and having a look, keep warm, have fun and keep your head up!

– Meteor Mark

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Perseids Meteor Shower – Two Days to Amaze http://www.meteorblog.com/perseids-meteor-shower-two-days-amaze/ http://www.meteorblog.com/perseids-meteor-shower-two-days-amaze/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2011 03:10:07 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1219 The Perseids Meteor Shower, active since July 17th, will be even stronger this August. When I began studying meteor showers and writing about them in this blog, I thought that meteor showers were events solely witnessed at night. I’ve since … Continue reading

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The Perseids Meteor Shower, active since July 17th, will be even stronger this August. When I began studying meteor showers and writing about them in this blog, I thought that meteor showers were events solely witnessed at night. I’ve since come to realize that these events are far more difficult to predict and are in fact more likely “morning events”, best seen before dawn and after midnight.

I’ve had a few questions on the site as I always do about the best time to view the Perseids this year. I always feel a little stressed over making promises about meteor showers because I don’t want anyone to miss the prime-time action. Since these events remain one of the most difficult astronomical occurrences to predict in science today, it is with guarded trepidation that I will state the best viewing times for this years Perseids Meteor Shower as follows:

The first “best” time to get out there and look will be between 12:01 AM and dawn on August 12th and the second even better time will be between August 12th 18:00 Universal Time and August 13th 07:00 Universal Time.

Perseids Meteor Shower Radiant

Perseids Meteor Shower Radiant

I find that the times leading up to the peak in the morning are always stronger. For some of you the peak times will occur when it is light outside, so my best advice is to look in the morning of August 12th, a few hours before dawn and then again in the evening of August 12th into the morning of August 13th. There are some good things going for viewing the Perseids Meteor Shower in the morning of August 12th. One in particular is that the Constellation Perseus (the radiant located in the northeast for most of us) will be at it’s highest in the sky just before dawn and the moon will be a small crescent shape. The best part about viewing in the morning of August 12th is that, if for some reason, you don’t see as many meteors as you would like, you’ll have a another chance later in the evening to have a second go round at viewing.

Believe it or not Perseids meteors are active and visible in the sky right now through August 24th. The meteor shower will be at it’s strongest between August 11th until August 13th, so these are the best times to view this shower. I’m hoping for a great display this year and I’m urging everyone to get out and view the Perseids in their glory! If you like this blog and you want to buy me a cup of coffee to keep me awake while watching meteors you can do so by using the “A Coffee for Meteor Mark” section on the site that is located on the right underneath the newsletter sign up box.

In the meantime, keep your head up!

– Meteor Mark
Perseids Meteor Shower August 2011

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Geminids Meteor Shower Peaks in December http://www.meteorblog.com/geminids-meteor-shower-peaks-in-december/ http://www.meteorblog.com/geminids-meteor-shower-peaks-in-december/#comments Fri, 10 Dec 2010 21:45:02 +0000 http://www.meteorblog.com/?p=1374 The Geminids Meteor Shower gets its name from the constellation from where it seems to originate. This is similar to other meteor showers. However unlike most meteor showers, the source of the Geminids Meteor Shower event is not a comet. … Continue reading

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Geminids Meteor Shower

Geminids Meteor Shower

The Geminids Meteor Shower gets its name from the constellation from where it seems to originate. This is similar to other meteor showers. However unlike most meteor showers, the source of the Geminids Meteor Shower event is not a comet. This makes it unique. In fact, the dust particles or meteoroids that bombard Earth each year at this time are from a completely different celestial being. Besides the sheer magnitude and reliability of this meteor shower each year, this distinguishing factor is one of my favorite aspects about this event.

So what causes the Geminids Meteor Shower if it is not a comet? The Geminids is a distinctive meteor shower because it is connected to an asteroid called “3200 Phaethon”. There is some dispute amongst astronomers over whether or not 3200 Phaethon is a comet in its final stages of life or simply an asteroid. Every December for hundreds and possibly thousands of years, the 3200 Phaethon has caused the Geminids Meteor Shower. Since the early beginnings of the discovery of this meteor shower, over 150 years ago, data has indicated that it is getting stronger and stronger every year.

In 2010, the Geminids Meteor Shower starts December 7th and continues until December 17th. I’m hoping that his meteor shower will be as good as last year. To optimize your chances of seeing a great display in the sky, aim to start viewing in the early morning hours before dawn. Meteors will appear anywhere in the sky but will emerge from their radiant within the constellation Gemini and so the name, Geminids. In the morning hours after midnight on December 14th, viewers will be treated to the shower’s strongest display under an a first quarter Moon phase with about 50% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated. I would describe Geminids meteors as, “exactly what one would think a meteor shower should look like”, fast with sparkly white streaks of light shooting across the sky. It’s no wonder while viewing this meteor shower over the years that they have garnered the nickname “shooting stars”. A most gloriously fitting description.

Geminids - Where to Look

Geminids - Where to Look

The Geminids Meteor Shower will peak on December 14th and under clear skies it could produce up to 120 meteors per hour. Find a safe dark place and if you’re in a cold weather area dress warmly. Locate the constellation Gemini and stare at an area around it. Be patient but stay vigilant because when the bursts of meteors spew forth, it seems to happen in spurts. For example, one meteor could be followed by three, and then a gap and then a minute may go by before you may see any more. Even though the Geminids could be the strongest meteor shower of the year, their behavior is still capricious and sporadic. I suggest dedicating a two-hour period to watch after midnight into the morning before dawn. This will help you account for and triumph over the whimsical and unpredictable nature of meteor showers like this one.

GeminidsI can’t guarantee that you’ll see anything and recommend that you read my glossary on this site as well as the meteor shower viewing page that are both located in the upper right hand corner for more viewing tips. You may want to browse around and study other articles and the comments from other meteor shower enthusiasts just like you. By doing this, you’ll get a sense for how to view meteors and you’ll feel like a pro in no time! If you’ve enjoyed my blog and liked reading my articles, please consider buying a meteor shirt or use the “A Coffee for Meteor Mark” section on the right hand side of the page. I will need some freshly brewed coffee for the morning hours whilst watching Geminid meteors!

Keep your head up!

– Meteor Mark

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