(meteorobs) Meteor Activity Outlook for February 14-20, 2003

The moon reaches its full phase on Tuesday February 18. For this entire 
period the moon will be in the sky most of the night making conditions 
difficult for viewing meteor activity. The sources of meteors listed 
below are active during this period but as stated above, will be 
difficult to observe. If your sky is transparent and the limiting 
magnitude exceeds +5.0 then you may be able to achieve some success at 
observing during this period. The estimated total hourly rates for 
evening observers this week should be near 2 for everyone regardless of 
location. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should 
be near 4 for those located in the Northern Hemisphere and 6 for those 
in the Southern Hemisphere. These rates assume that you are watching 
from rural areas away from all sources of light pollution. The actual 
rates will also depend on factors such as personal light and motion 
perception, local weather conditions, alertness and experience in 
watching meteor activity. Rates are significantly reduced by moonlight 
during this period.

The positions listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning 
February 15/16. The positions do not change greatly day to day so these 
positions may be used during this entire period. Most star atlases 
(available at science stores and libraries) will provide maps with grid 
lines of the celestial coordinates so that you may find out exactly 
where these positions are located in the sky. A planisphere or computer 
planetarium program is also useful in showing the sky at any time of 
night on any date of the year. Activity from each radiant is best seen 
when it is positioned highest in the sky, either due north or south 
along the meridian, depending on your location. Meteor activity is not 
seen from radiants that are located below the horizon. The radiants 
below are listed in a west to east manner in order of right ascension 
(celestial longitude). The radiants listed first are located further 
west therefore are accessible earlier in the night while those listed 
last rise later in the night. This list also provides the order of 
ascending velocity for each radiant with those listed first usually 
being much slower than those last on the list. Velocity should not be 
the prime factor for shower association as all showers can produce slow 
meteors. Slow meteors can be produced from normally swift showers, such 
as the Leonids, when meteors appear near the radiant or close to the 
horizon. The true velocity is only revealed in shower members seen far 
from the radiant and high in the sky.

The detailed descriptions of each shower will return next week when 
moonlight becomes less of a factor.

Delta Velids               08:48 (132)  -53
Delta Leonids              10:40 (160)  +19
Antihelion (Virginids)     10:44 (161)  +07
Omicron Centaurids         11:56 (179)  -57
Theta Centaurids           14:08 (212)  -42
Alpha Centaurids           14:40 (220)  -61
Northern Apex              15:44 (236)  -04
Southern Apex              15:44 (236)  -34

Clear Skies!
Robert Lunsford
AMS Operations Manager

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