Page Created: 2005 February 21
Page Last Updated: 2015 January 4
Welcome to Starlight Cascade Observatory 2015 Meteor Showers!
Near Yarker, Ontario, Canada.
(44.22.39 N 76.45.47 W 155M Elevation)
How many times as a child, did we hear " Quick make a wish, there goes a falling star?"
Many children today are told the same fable line, but as children, did we ever wonder wha
t these falling stars really were?
These "falling stars" that streaked across the sky are known as Meteors. Meteors are small
particles, which originated from debris and dust from Comets, are normally no larger than
a grain of sand, that once they enter our atmosphere, at speeds of up to 70 kilometres pe
r second, can produce a streak of light across the sky. These meteors become visible to th
e naked eye at an altitude of about 100 kilometres. Most of these small particles will eva
porate from the effects of heat before they reach the earth, but for some larger particles
that make it to the earth and land, they are known as meteorites.
Meteors are visible on any clear night, however like most observing, the darker the skies the more you will see. A greater number of meteors are usually seen in the early morning due to the earth's rotation. As the earth moves into the stream of particles, the individual is facing into this stream, thus seeing more meteors collide into our atmosphere.
There are generally two groups of Meteors. Those that come from a random area of the sky, known as sporadics, and those that come from a particular area known as a radiant, which belong to radiant showers. An example of a radiant shower is the Perseids, which is located between the constellations, Perseus and Cassiopeia. This shower is thought to have come from the debris of Comet P/Swift-Tuttle. The shower date is in August of each year. Below is a chart of Northern Hemisphere Meteor Showers that occur throughout a given year.
NAMN 2015 Meteor Shower Calendar
This shower calendar has been adapted from the Working List of Visual Meteor Showers published by the International Meteor Organization (IMO). We express our appreciation for permission to use this material. For additional information contact Mark Davis
Shower Activity Maximum Radiant V r ZHR IMO
Period Date km/s Code
h m °
Antihelion Source Dec 10-Sep 10 March-April Various 30 3.0 4 ANT
Quadrantids Dec 28-Jan 12 Jan 04 15 20 +49 41 2.1 120 QUA
alpha-Centaurids Jan 28-Feb 21 Feb 08 14 00 -59 56 2.0 6 ACE
gamma-Normids Feb 25-Mar 28 Mar 15 15 56 -50 56 2.4 6 GNO
Lyrids Apr 16-Apr 25 Apr 22 18 04 +34 49 2.1 18 LYR
pi-Puppids Apr 15-Apr 28 Apr 24 07 20 -45 18 2.0 var. PPU
eta-Aquarids Apr 19-May 28 May 06 22 32 -01 66 2.4 65 ETA
eta-Lyrids May 03-May 14 May 09 19 08 +44 43 3.0 3 ELY
June Bootids Jun 22-Jul 02 Jun 27 14 56 +48 18 2.2 var. JBO
Piscis Austrinids Jul 15-Aug 10 Jul 28 22 44 -30 35 3.2 5 PAU
Southern delta-Aquarids Jul 12-Aug 23 Jul 30 22 40 -16 41 3.2 16 SDA
alpha-Capricornids Jul 03-Aug 15 Jul 30 20 28 -10 23 2.5 5 CAP
Perseids Jul 17-Aug 24 Aug 13 03 12 +58 59 2.2 100 PER
kappa-Cygnids Aug 03-Aug 25 Aug 18 19 04 +59 25 3.0 3 KCG
Aurigids Aug 28-Sep 05 Sep 01 06 04 +39 66 2.5 6 AUR
Sep. epsilon-Perseids Sep 05-Sep 21 Sep 09 03 12 +47 64 3.0 5 SPE
Draconids Oct 06-Oct 10 Oct 09 17 28 +54 20 2.6 var. DRA
Southern Taurids Sep 10-Nov 20 Oct 10 02 08 +09 27 2.3 5 STA
delta-Aurigids Oct 10-Oct 18 Oct 11 05 36 +44 64 3.0 2 DAU
epsilon-Geminids Oct 14-Oct 27 Oct 18 06 48 +27 70 3.0 3 EGE
Orionids Oct 02-Nov 07 Oct 21 06 20 +16 66 2.5 25 ORI
Leo Minorids Oct 19-Oct 27 Oct 24 10 48 +38 62 3.0 2 LMI
Northern Taurids Oct 20-Dec 10 Nov 12 03 52 +22 29 2.3 5 NTA
Leonids Nov 06-Nov 30 Nov 18 10 08 +22 71 2.5 15 LEO
alpha-Monocerotids Nov 15-Nov 25 Nov 22 07 48 +01 65 2.4 var. AMO
Phoenicids Nov 28-Dec 09 Dec 06 01 12 -53 18 2.8 var. PHO
Puppid-Velids Dec 01-Dec 15 Dec 07 08 12 -45 40 2.9 10 PUP
Monocerotids Nov 27-Dec 17 Dec 09 06 40 +08 42 3.0 2 MON
sigma-Hydrids Dec 03-Dec 15 Dec 12 08 28 +02 58 3.0 3 HYD
Geminids Dec 04-Dec 17 Dec 14 07 28 +33 35 2.6 120 GEM
Comae Berenicids Dec 12-Jan 23 Dec 16 11 40 +18 65 3.0 3 COM
December Leo Minorids Dec 05-Feb 04 Dec 20 10 44 +30 64 3.0 5 DLM
Ursids Dec 17-Dec 26 Dec 23 14 28 +76 33 3.0 10 URS
Radiant positions are listed in right ascension and declination co-ordinates. The column "V" is the velocity in kilometres per second. The letter "r" is the population index. "Code" is the abbreviation for the shower that observers should use when reporting meteor observations. (Taken from the Website of NAMN - with permission from Mark Davis NAMN Co-ordinator)
Meteor observing does not require a lot of fancy or expensive equipment. Whether observing for pleasure, or to collect data for scientific purposes your main instrument will be your eyes. Some other equipment that might be useful, are a comfortable reclining chair, blankets, pen, paper, or recording device, plus batteries, a watch, string and some warm liquid to keep you warm. The dew has a habit of sneaking up on you and keeping warm and dry are very important for any observing sessions.
There are of course a few simple exercises to help you along the way. First get a good star map, preferably one with magnitude ratings on the charts. Learning the night sky and its constellations is a great benefit both in meteor observing and regular observing. The magnitude ratings beside the stars help you determine how dark your night sky is for viewing, plus the magnitude determination of the meteor that you see. The higher the positive number you can see with your eyes, the fainter the stars you are seeing, which means the better the night time sky. As the number goes down, this means the sky is not as clear for viewing. Anything that is below a 5.0 magnitude is not worth collecting meteor data, but you can certainly continue to look at the meteors and determine what shower they belong too. As for meteor magnitude determination, the higher the positive magnitude, the fainter the meteor, and the lower the positive or negative number, the brighter the meteor.
Now, that you are familiar with the night sky, let's settle back and observe just a portion of the sky. Generally you should not look directly at the radiant of the meteor shower, but 45 degrees away from it. This allows your eyes to catch meteors that come in on several angles so that you can draw or trace the meteor back to the radiant, and can tell what shower the meteor belonged too. This is where the string comes in. Some people use it as a guide to help them trace the meteor back to the radiant.
When you see the meteor, note the time, the magnitude, trace back to a possible radiant shower and if the meteor has colour or a tail. Some meteors, if they are bright enough are called a fireball or bolide (generally anything under a -4 magnitude). Another group, Meteorite and Impacts Advisory Committee track fireballs and Bolides. Reports are sent in to MIAC for the possibility of impact sites and for meteorites. This is another aspect that you can become involved in scientific research by observing meteors.
Though it seems like a lot to do all at once, if you try the simple exercises and do meteor observing in steps, things will all come together. Try observing during a minor shower, or several days before a major shower, to get a feel for what the night time sky can offer. You will soon learn not only the sky, but feel like you are part of the universe, and see the history of past comets as they streak across the sky, which are known as Meteors.
Observers Handbook published by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
North American Meteor Network
International Meteor Organization
(IMO) Handbook for Visual Meteor Observers
Compact Catalogue of Canadian Meteorites
The American Meteor Society
Canadian Comet Catchers
Comet Images from around the World
Astronomy Picture of the Day -Comet McNaught
Italy Vello Tabor's Site
Pictures from down Under
All Sky Camera & Fireball Detection
|Once you have spotted a fireball by eye or on tape fill out the form below and send in-help with the research of fireballs, and possible landing of meteorites
MIAC Fireball Reporting Form-for Canadian Fireball Reports