It’s Meteor Season

Over the next six weeks or so, flashes of light will be streaking across the night sky. Weather permitting, five meteor showers will be visible in our area through mid-November.Leonid Meteor Storm

The first of these fiery shows takes place on October 7. The Draconid meteor shower is an unusual shower in that these meteors are best seen just after nightfall, whereas most meteor showers are best seen after midnight or in the pre-dawn hours. Although the Draconids are not expected to produce a great number of meteors per hour, nature is always unpredictable, so watching this shower is definitely worth a shot. A thin crescent moon means skies will be dark for viewing, so grab a sweater and head outside just after the sun sets. Allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness, then sit back, look up and enjoy the show!

During the early morning hours of October 21, the Orionid meteor shower will peak. Unfortunately, a bright moon will probably interfere with your ability to spot these “shooting stars.” Due to the moon’s interference this year, we’re not going to suggest getting out of bed at 3am for this shower, but if you happen to be awake anyway, you may as well try.

Two long-lasting meteor showers, the South Taurids and the North Taurids, will peak in early to mid-November. After midnight but before dawn on November 5, the South Taurid meteor shower will reach its peak; during the same timeframe on November 12, the North Taurids will peak. These showers generally only produce a handful or two of meteors each hour, but some can be remarkably bright, making for a good show.

Gibeon meteorite fragment

19 cm meteorite specimen.
Credit to H. Raab (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gibeon.jpg)

The Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak early morning on November 17 and 18. Although this shower has produced some amazing displays in the past, it looks like the full moon will wash out most of this year’s meteors. There’s always the chance the Leonids will impress despite the moon, though, so if you’re awake early in the morning, head outside and see what you can see!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s