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 Post subject: Orionids 2008
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:19 pm 
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The main Orionid meteor shower maximum is expected early next week, on October 20-21, when the shower's radiant is near Orion's "Club" asterism, an area of sky usefully observable after about 23h UT. An International Meteor Organization (IMO) analysis some years ago suggested Zenithal Hourly Rates (ZHRs) should be around 25-30 at best this year, rising towards their next possibly cyclical rates-peak (previous highest ZHRs were circa 30), in 2008-2010 or so, following a 12-year periodicity if correct. However, in 2006 and 2007, abnormally strong Orionid returns occurred, with ZHRs of 50-70 on two or three consecutive dates across the predicted peak. A subsequent IMO analysis following the 2006 event indicated similarly enhanced rates may still happen this year, and could again persist for more than one night. In addition, a sub-peak, with ZHRs similar to the normal main maximum, has happened a few times in the past on October 17-18 (next Friday night/Saturday morning), albeit definitely reported only in 1993 and 1998 so far. Regrettably, the waning gibbous Moon, at last quarter on October 21, will be a severe problem right through the October 17-21 period, so seeing what the shower yields will not be an easy task. Be aware though that the IMO investigations have suggested NO abnormal activity is likely next year. Hopeful Orionid observers braving the moonlight should watch as much sky as comfortably possible, but facing away from the Moon (hiding the Moon behind a rooftop, wall, fence or trees can be additionally helpful). Much lower rates of Orionids are normally present from early October through into the first week of November. Orionid meteors are fast, often bright, and frequently trained.

For more information and an Orionid radiant chart, see the October activity webpage at: http://www.popastro.com/sections/meteor ... ct2008.htm .

Good luck, and clear skies!

Alastair McBeath,
Meteor Director, Society for Popular Astronomy.
E-mail: <meteor@popastro.com> (messages under 150 kB in size only, please)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:17 pm 
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Location: Bruges (just over Channel)
8) thanks

I shall try it Tuesday morning. The Moon only is 52%, and not far from the radiant, so it will not disturb much I think...

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Thanks to the clear cold nights...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:18 am 
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Location: Leeds, W Yorks, England
its 2:15 a.m. and the skies are quite clear this tuesday morning here in leeds. orion has just risen over the horizon in the last hour, ill be up all night hoping to get a glimpse of a few orionids..i havent seen one yet and the skies have a lot of light pollution here in the middle of the city..plus theres the moon which is not far away from orion at all.. still you never know and i may be lucky enough to see some of the brighter ones...

:D

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:33 am 
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Location: Leeds, W Yorks, England
update : sadly it clouded over and started raining to boot at 3am.. still i got to see a whole 1 orionid about 5 mins before the rain came (woo hoo!!)
:D :D :D
it was bright and it was short and it left a small trail before it vanished and it shot straight inbetween the middle of the top two stars (shoulders) in orion..thats betelgeuse and bellatrix...

and thats it..

oh those evil clouds.... :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:15 pm 
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Conditions have been mixed here in southern Northumberland over the Orionid maximum, much as elsewhere, but I'm hoping others were fortunate in seeing part of the display despite the weather and the Moon, who have still to report. Commiserations to those who were unlucky, since early indications are the Orionid rates were above normal on both October 20-21 and 21-22.

Here, October 19-20 was overcast and mild, but with gales, so no chance to see anything meteoric then.

October 20-21 was marginally better, in that the winds were just strong at times, but it was a good deal colder even sheltered from the wind, with a lot of fast-moving cloud all night. There was rain on and off for the first half as well, but this became less frequent after midnight, and I even spotted the occasional Orionid or two in what few gaps presented later. However, it was about 04h before there were enough breaks to chance a proper meteor watch. In the end, I snatched an hour before morning twilight from about 04:30-05:30 UT, but there was a lot more cloud than I'd hoped (an average 30% of my field of view was covered by it), with a limiting magnitude (LM) of just +5.3. Even so, I spotted ten Orionids in that time, plus three sporadics and a lone Southern Taurid. One of the Orionids was of minor fireball class at mag -3 (at 04:47), and a couple of others were of negative magnitude, but the magnitude distribution I saw seemed fairly typical for the shower as a whole. Under the circumstances, I was pleased with this, and it suggested ZHRs may have been up around the 50 mark.

Last night (21-22) started clear, cold and breezy, but clouds were hurrying through from time to time, and soon after midnight UT, there was patchy rain too, with higher, heavier clouds. I finally managed to look out briefly without getting wet about 02h UT, and spotted three Orionids in seven minutes before it started raining again, but that was the rain's last hurrah for the night, and skies finally cleared enough to allow some real observing just before 02:30. I was out after then into the start of morning twilight, stopping at about 05:35, and in three hours of mostly clear, LM +5.5, sky, picked-up 54 Orionids, 19 sporadics and three Taurids. There were four fireballs, three of mag -3 (two ORI at 02:53 & 04:58, plus an STA at 03:48), but meteor of the night was a cracking mag -5 yellow-green Orionid in early twilight at 05:14, shooting a little south of the Plough, and producing two flares, one about two-thirds of the way through, the other at the end. The first flare left a ~4-second train, but the terminal flare left a 12-second one, slowly shrinking to a tiny, fuzzy disc. Prior to that, event of the night had been a mag 0 and a mag +1 Orionid apparently chasing one another almost simultaneously down into the low NNW sky at 04:37. By-chance, I just happened to glance down there as they shot in, something you can't plan for! ZHRs (again just in what I spotted) may have been around 50-70, but all these figures will need confirmation. The magnitude distribution was similarly 'normal' to Oct 20-21 for me too.

Overall, the displays on Oct 20-21 and 21-22 were distinctly better than I've seen at past Orionid returns, excepting the excellent showing last year (I was clouded-out for the 2006 bright-meteor return), and my impression from this and what the initial IMO data have suggested (off the homepage at http://www.imo.net ) is that the predictions for another stronger return may have been borne-out.

There's the possibility improved activity, if perhaps below the very best, may continue for another night or two, with lessening problems from the Moon, so it could be worth keeping watch especially in the last few pre-dawn hours, when the radiant is at its highest. If you get some decent skies, good luck!

Alastair McBeath,
Meteor Director, Society for Popular Astronomy.
E-mail: <meteor@popastro.com> (messages under 150 kB in size only, please).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:31 pm 
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Location: Romsey, Hampshire
Hi

I was out in the forest last night and got a lovely meteor

It was easily -1 perhaps even -2 and came from betelgeuse and finally faded out half way across the night sky

Totally amazing :-)

Dave

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:21 pm
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Location: Hampshire, UK
i was out last saturday night, and i saw 6 in about an hour... some small and 1 medium and 1 huge long one, i still keep jumping up and down and grinning from ear to ear.... :)


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