Alpha Monocerotid Meteor Shower – 21st Nov

Alpha Monocerotid meteor shower

Missed the Perseids and Orionids? This could be the one??

From the SETI Institute site:

Peter Jenniskens, SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center, and Esko Lyytinen, Helsinki, Finland, report that there will be a significant return of the alpha Monocerotid meteor shower this year (IAU shower 246, AMO), when Earth will be briefly showered by a stream of meteoroids in the path of an unknown long-period comet.

The shower is exceptional because the whole display will last only 15 to 40 minutes. It is not seen in most other years; the last good display was in 1995. Two years ago, the shower showed dimly over the Arabian peninsula, promising a good display this year.

This year the shower is expected to show several meteors per minute at the peak, for those that have clear weather, dark skies, and the shower radiant well above the horizon. Meteors will only be moderately bright, most will have the brightness of the stars Polaris and Deneb, based on a past encounter in 1995.

The event is expected on November 22, 2019, centered on 04:50 UTC. The shower is visible in the eastern parts of the USA and southern America on November 21 late evening (23:50 EST), after the radiant (near the star Procyon) rises above the horizon. The shower is not visible at locations further West where Procyon is below the horizon at 04:50 UTC.

The shower is best seen in western parts of Europe in the early morning hours, just before dawn, where Procyon is high in the sky at that time. The shower is not visible further East where dawn occurs before 04:50 UTC.

 

Let's hope the weather plays ball - this could be really interesting!

Want to try and catch an image of these? Here are some tips:

  • Mount your camera on a sturdy tripod, and aim it towards Procyon
  • Use a wide angle lens and set the aperture as wide as possible (low f/ number)
  • Set the ISO level to around 800 - 1600
  • Set the exposure to 15 seconds
  • Shoot!

You may need to adjust the ISO or exposure time to not wash out the sky or make the camera a little more sensitive to capture the stars.

if you have one, use an intervalometer to program the camera to take repeated exposures - or use a release cable.

Hopefully, you'll capture some great streaks in your images - and remember to submit them to BAS so we can show them off!

More information can be found at The Sky and Telescope site