Updates About Meteor Showers for 2013

Mar 06

Meteor Shower Minutus

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.

Feb 27

Meteor Shower Activity

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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