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Oct
20
Tue
Orionids Meteor Shower.
Oct 20 all-day

Orionids Meteor Shower

Next period of activity: October 2nd, 2020 to November 7th, 2020

Peak: Oct 20-21, 2020 – the moon will be 24% illuminated.

The Orionids are a medium strength shower that sometimes reaches high strength activity. In a normal year the Orionids produce 10-20 shower members at maximum. In exceptional years, such as 2006-2009, the peak rates were on par with the Perseids (50-75 per hour). Recent displays have produced low to average displays of this shower.

Shower details – Radiant: 06:20 +15.5° – ZHR: 20 – Velocity: 41 miles/sec (swift – 67km/sec) – Parent Object: 1P/Halley

Data from the American Meteor Society.

Interactive animation from MeteorShowers.org.

Nov
4
Wed
S. Taurid Meteor Shower.
Nov 4 all-day

S. Taurid Meteor Shower

Next period of activity: September 10th, 2020 to November 20th, 2020

Peak: Nov. 3-4, 2020 – the moon will be 48% illuminated.

The Southern Taurids are a long-lasting shower that reaches a barely noticeable maximum on October 9 or 10. The shower is active for more than two months but rarely produces more than five shower members per hour, even at maximum activity. The Taurids (both branches) are rich in fireballs and are often responsible for increased number of fireball reports from September through November.

Shower details – Radiant: 02:08 +8.7° – ZHR: 5 – Velocity: 17 miles/sec (slow – 28km/sec) – Parent Object: 2P/Encke

Data from the American Meteor Society.

Interactive animation from MeteorShowers.org.

Nov
11
Wed
N. Taurid Meteor Shower.
Nov 11 all-day

N. Taurid Meteor Shower

Next period of activity: October 20th, 2020 to December 10th, 2020

Peak: Nov 11-12, 2020 – the moon will be 21.3% illuminated.

This shower is much like the Southern Taurids, just active a bit later in the year. When the two showers are active simultaneously in late October and early November, there is sometimes an notable increase in the fireball activity. There seems to be a seven year periodicity with these fireballs. 2008 and 2015 both produced remarkable fireball activity.

Shower details – Radiant: 03:52 +22.7° – ZHR: 5 – Velocity: 18 miles/sec (medium – 30km/sec) – Parent Object: 2P/Encke

Data from the American Meteor Society.

Interactive animation from MeteorShowers.org.

Nov
17
Tue
Leonids Meteor Shower.
Nov 17 all-day

Leonids Meteor Shower

Next period of activity: November 6th, 2020 to November 30th, 2020

Peak: Nov 16-17, 2020 – the moon will be 1.6% illuminated.

The Leonids are best known for producing meteor storms in the years of 1833, 1866, 1966, 1999, and 2001. These outbursts of meteor activity are best seen when the parent object, comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, is near perihelion (closest approach to the sun). Yet it is not the fresh material we see from the comet, but rather debris from earlier returns that also happen to be most dense at the same time. Unfortunately it appears that the earth will not encounter any dense clouds of debris until 2099. Therefore when the comet returns in 2031 and 2064, there will be no meteor storms, but perhaps several good displays of Leonid activity when rates are in excess of 100 per hour. The best we can hope for now until the year 2030 is peaks of around 15 shower members per hour and perhaps an occasional weak outburst when the earth passes near a debris trail. The Leonids are often bright meteors with a high percentage of persistent trains.

Shower details – Radiant: 10:08 +21.6° – ZHR: 15 – Velocity: 44 miles/sec (swift – 71km/sec) – Parent Object: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle

Data from the American Meteor Society.

Interactive animation from MeteorShowers.org.

Dec
13
Sun
Geminid Meteor Shower.
Dec 13 all-day

Geminid Meteor Shower

Next period of activity: December 4th, 2020 to December 17th, 2020

Peak: Dec 13-14, 2020 – the Moon will be 0.2% illuminated.

The Geminids are usually the strongest meteor shower of the year and meteor enthusiasts are certain to circle December 13 and 14 on their calendars. This is the one major shower that provides good activity prior to midnight as the constellation of Gemini is well placed from 22:00 onward. The Geminids are often bright and intensely colored. Due to their medium-slow velocity, persistent trains are not usually seen. These meteors are also seen in the southern hemisphere, but only during the middle of the night and at a reduced rate.

Shower details – Radiant: 07:28 +32.2° – ZHR: 150 – Velocity: 22 miles/sec (medium – 35km/sec) – Parent Object: 3200 Phaethon (asteroid)

Data from the American Meteor Society.

Interactive animation from MeteorShowers.org.

Dec
22
Tue
Ursids Meteor Shower.
Dec 22 all-day

Ursids Meteor Shower

Next period of activity: December 17th, 2020 to December 26th, 2020

Peak: Dec 21-22, 2020 – the moon will be 52% illuminated.

The Ursids are often neglected due to the fact it peaks just before Christmas and the rates are much less than the Geminds, which peaks just a week before the Ursids. Observers will normally see 5-10 Ursids per hour during the late morning hours on the date of maximum activity. There have been occasional outbursts when rates have exceeded 25 per hour. These outbursts appear unrelated to the perihelion dates of comet 8P/Tuttle. This shower is strictly a northern hemisphere event as the radiant fails to clear the horizon or does so simultaneously with the start of morning twilight as seen from the southern tropics.

Shower details – Radiant: 14:28 +74.8° – ZHR: 10 – Velocity: 20 miles/sec (medium – 32km/sec) – Parent Object: 8P/Tuttle

Data from the American Meteor Society.

Interactive animation from MeteorShowers.org.