Possible outburst of the upcoming Alpha Monocerotid meteor shower: online observation – 22 Nov. 2019
On the night between 21 and 22 Nov. 2019, there is a chance for a intense, but short activity of the Alpha Monocerotid meteors. At Virtual Telescope, we will try to catch it live, sharing it online with the world.
Astronomers Peter Jenniskens and Esko Lyytinen predicted an outburst of activity for this otherwise modest meteor shower, expected on the night between 21 and 22 Nov. 2019, with the peak window centered on 22 Nov., 04:50 UTC. Peter Jenniskens succeeded predicting the 1995 outburst and now the two astronomers said that the conditions preparing this new possible outburst are nearly identical to those of 24 years ago.
A possible ideal rate of 400 meteors per hour (a few meteors per minute!) is expected, provided you will have the meteor shower’s radiant (the apparent “source” of the meteors in the sky, placed in the Monoceros constellation, close to its brightest star – Alpha Monocerotis – hence the shower’s name) exactly overhead (at the zenith), you will be observing under dark skies and, most importantly, you will be observing at the very moment of the outburst, which is predicted to be of short (15-40 minutes) duration. The real rate will depend on your position on the planet and on the time of the outburst. In short, it is question of luck! The parent body of the Alpha Monocerotids is unknown, likely a long period (~ 500 years) comet. To learn more about this event, please check the posts on Sky & Telescope and EarthSky.
Of course, at Virtual Telescope we planned a live, online observing session covering the mentioned, predicted peak, hoping in good luck and good weather. We will use large field of view imaging devices to cover large patches of the sky, to hopefully capture this possible Alpha Monocerotid meteor shower intense outburst.
The live, free coverage is scheduled for 22 Nov. 2019, starting at 04:15 UTC.
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