Aurigid meteor shower


in Canada, Geek stuff, Science

For those who missed the annual Perseid meteor shower, there is another chance to see some debris vaporizing in our atmosphere this week. The Aurigids are a much rarer shower, generated by comet Kiess (C/1911 N1) passing near the sun around 4 C.E. Gravity from the Earth and other planets sometimes creates dust trails that intersect with the Earth, as it moves through its orbit. The night of August 31st will be one such occasion.

Regrettably, there will not be much to see from eastern Canada. Even in the countryside, the incidence of meteors will peak at less than ten an hour. In Vancouver, however, those in the countryside can expect to see a sharp peak of activity between 4:00am and 5:00am, during which more than 200 meteors per hour should be visible. If you are looking for an excuse to escape all that city light pollution, this is an excellent one.

Aspiring amateur astronomers will find this page very informative. It includes tips on viewing, as well as a neat applet that lets you calculate the incidence of meteor activity in your location.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

. August 29, 2007 at 9:26 am

“A bright gibbous moon will be lighting up the sky on the morning of the shower.

But because the Aurigids ram through our atmosphere at exceptionally high speeds of 41 miles per second (66 kps), and since these particles are predicted to be rather large, the display is expected to be rich in bright meteors, with many appearing as bright as the brightest stars and a few perhaps approaching or even rivaling Jupiter and Venus. “So,” says Jenniskens, “the moon probably won’t dim much of the display.”

Tom August 29, 2007 at 3:28 pm

If you look closely at the graphic atop this page, you will see that the Aurigid shower includes private jets, as well as comet dust.


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