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Astro Bob

Meteor Shower A Dud, But Showing Up Half The Fun

22 Nov 2019, 17:35 UTC
Meteor Shower A Dud, But Showing Up Half The Fun
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Michael J. Boyle caught an Alpha Monocerotid speeding through Orion last night. I saw 20 meteors in an hour (not 400) from a dark sky site. But they were faint,” writes Boyle. Michael J. Boyle
Astronomy is just so weird. Sometimes you have to take it in stride. After the hype of the Alpha Monocerotids — of which I’m partly to blame — the shower proved to be very weak. Michael Boyle, an amateur astronomer in Florida, an ideal spot from which to view the event, reported about 20 meteors per hour at peak. Others saw a few. I stood in a bitter cold wind for an hour and 15 minutes and saw exactly one.
I can’t tell you exactly why the shower was a dud, but let’s just say we still don’t know enough about the Alpha Monocerotids to always forecast them accurately. While the 400 meteors per hour rate was for ideal conditions over a short period of time, the radiant was low for many observers in the U.S. so fewer were expected. Still, I was surprised that I saw almost none. My skies were good with the winter Milky Way easily visible and the radiant a couple ...

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