Meteor Showers 2016

Tarbert 27th Jan

Firstly, apologies for the delay, we have missed the Quadrantids at the start of January.
If you follow the facebook page you’ll know that I’ve been getting excited about the beautiful mornings line up that we have been spoilt with (in between crazy weather).
If you are a morning person and are blessed with clear skies, look out before/during sunrise to the SE, S, SW and West from the horizon up, Mercury, Venus, Saturn Mars and Jupiter have been visible, unfortunately the weather was not on our side most mornings, but I managed to see them a few times.

Around the Spring Equinox  we now have a fireball season, unpredictable but a regular occurrence so keep your eyes peeled in the weeks just before and after the 20th March!

Towards the end of April is the Lyrid Meteor Shower, from around the 16th to the 25th April, with a bright moon though we may not be able to see as many as usual, look NE after around 10pm.
The Lyrids quite often leave trails and has surges of around 100 meteors an hour, so it’s well worth looking out for.

Stargazing For Beginners

Between May the 5th-7th, if you are an early bird and up before the crack of dawn, look out for the Eta Aquarids, again, we are possibly too far North to see many.

August brings us the Perseids, probably one of the best/easiest meteor showers to view on a clear night.
The nights are warmer too, so it’s a perfect introduction for younger members of the family.
It builds up through August and peaks around the 10th to 13th.
They radiate from the constellation Perseus, however, you don’t need to be an expert on constellations, just allow your eyes to adjust to the dark and gaze into the sky, before long you will spot any movement.
Perseids can often give a spectacular display, so if the weather is on your side make the most of it!

October gives us the Draconids in Draco, the Dragon Constellation, it has the potential to be another spectacular show!

The Draconids is another meteor shower that is best watched early evening, making it another one ideal to look out for if you have young children.
The Draconid showers radiant point stands highest in the sky as darkness falls, so unlike many meteor showers, more Draconids are likely to fly in the evening hours than in the morning hours after midnight.
This shower is usually a sleeper, producing only a handful of  meteors per hour most years. But watch out if the Dragon awakes!   Draco has been known to show many hundreds of meteors in a single hour!

Around the 21st to 22nd October is the Orionids, another one for early risers as you are most likely to see these just before dawn.
However, often you can see meteors various times of the night, if you are out and about it is always worth taking some time to just look up, you could be surprised!

The Taurid Meteor showers last a long time, but I have just put their peak dates on our Public Calendar.
The South Taurids spread out from the 25th September right through to the 25th November, so you could see them anytime, but the peak for the South taurids is the 4th to the 5th November.

The North Taurids spread out from around October the 12th to December the 2nd, but the peak time for viewing these is between the 11th and 12th November.

3D Astronomer 

The Taurids radiate from Taurus, the bull and are best seen around midnight when Taurus is high in the sky.

In November, the Leonids peak around the 17th November, the best time to see them is just before dawn, although they are often seen during the evenings and late night.

The  Leonid meteor shower happens every year at this time, as our world crosses the orbital path of Comet Tempel-Tuttle.
Tempel-Tuttle litters its orbit with bits of debris. It’s when this cometary debris enters Earth’s atmosphere, and vaporizes, that we see the Leonid meteor shower.

Around the 13th December, the Geminid meteor shower peaks.
The best time to see this is around 2am, although you are likely to see many before then.
This year though the full Moon may prevent us seeing as many as usual, but it is still well worth staying up for!

You don’t need expensive equipment to enjoy these stunning displays, the meteors are easily visible with the naked eye, and some can be spectacular!
You just need some patience, dark clear skies and to wrap up warm!
For the ultimate luxury, spoil yourself to a luxury camp bed and lay back, relax and enjoy the display!

 If you want to meet other astronomers and learn more about all our dark skies have to offer here on the West Coast, take a look at West Kintyre Stargazers who organise group talks, events and advice.


Taurid Meteor Shower Early November

This is just a quick post to let you know if the skies are clear we are in for another celestial treat!
This is unlikely to be a very busy meteor shower but there is a possibility of seeing some rather spectacular fireballs, so even if you just catch one it’s sure to be memorable!
The South Taurid meteors can be seen around the 4th and 5th November while the North Taurid shower will be raining down the most meteors on the night of November 11-12.

The radiant point is Taurus although they can appear to come from any direction, as always, just look up!

Find more detailed information here.
Also keep an eye on the solar storms and Aurora predictions as it is possible we could be spoilt with another dazzling display.

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Coronal hole faces Earth
Don’t think we really need to warn for this as most of you seem to be very enthusiastic about this but just a heads up for those who haven’t heard it:

A coronal hole solar wind stream is expected to arrive here on Earth in the next 12 to 36 hours. A moderate G2 geomagnetic storm is expected once the solar wind stream arrives, and the NOAA SWPC even has a warning in place for possible strong G3 geomagnetic storming conditions.

A minor disturbance in the solar wind was observed in the past few hours but we think this was caused by a solar sector boundary crossing (phi angle shifted) and this means the solar wind stream likely has yet to arrive.

Follow it live on

Video: 3 days worth of footage from SDO showing the coronal hole as it faced Earth.
Posted by SpaceWeatherLive on Monday, 2 November 2015