Upcoming Showers by W8WN

Date: Sun, 23 Nov 1997 00:40:04 +0000
To: hsms@tree.net
From:  Shelby Ennis, W8WN 
Subject: [HSMS] Upcoming showers

We are coming into one of the best times of the year for meteor showers.
Here is a summary of the next three.

GEMINIDS - Until the new large peaks of the Perseids a few years ago, the
Geminids had become the primary shower of the year.  It may produce meteors
about December 4-16.  The major part of the shower is considered to be Dec.
10-14.  This year's peak is predicted between about 1900 UTC Dec 13 to 0300
UTC Dec 14.  This is a large, reliable shower, with a very broad maximum.
There may be a high count for nearly 2 days.  However, it typically has a
slow rise and a rapid decay after the peak.  Radiant above the horizon
1900-0900 (Local).  This shower is very good for N-S paths, good for other
directions.  The shower has large particles with a low velocity.
This would appear to be an ideal shower for HSCW operation.  Long duration
(over a week), broad peak, slow velocity.  Skeds during hours of darkness.
The major problem with this shower (other than the lower velocity) is that
it is the beginning of the Christmas holiday season, when people are very
busy with other things.  Best bet - make a sked or two each evening,
starting early in the month, putting the difficult paths Dec 10-16, and
especially near the peak.  Looks like a good shower for CQs on 144.100, etc.

URSIDS - A minor shower.  The peak is predicted about 22 December, 0800
UTC.  Circumpolar (the radiant never sets in northern locations).  Slow
meteors.  Count much lower than Geminids or Perseids; but it should be well
above the background sporadic count.  Again, this is where HSCW should give
a number of contacts in a couple of evenings.

QUADRANTIDS - One of the "Big Three" of the major showers.  However, like
the Leonids, this shower has a very sharp spike-like peak.  Miss the peak
by a few hours and you've missed the peak completely, and also most of the
shower!  Catch the peak and you may get quite a good shower.  In addition,
the peak time is variable, as is the peak count.  Best guess, around 1600
UTC, 3 January 1998.  Slower rise, very rapid decline after the peak.
Local rise/set times, 2300/1800 (Local).  Best for NE-SW and SE-NW paths.
For HSCW, make skeds in morning hours, up to noon.  Start skeds on 1
January.  As probable peak time approaches, consider CQs on .100.  Also
consider monitoring 144.200.  Random SSB might be good for a short time IF
you catch the peak.  A difficult shower to plan for.

After this, it's routine HSCW skeds using sporadics until the May 1-6 Eta
Aquarids (a minor shower) and the June Arietieds (probably a major shower
with small particles; but a daylight shower and little known).  So try to
plan your holiday  activities to allow some skeds in the next 6 weeks.  The
period of 1 December through about 6 January is a very good time.  And
after this we won't have much above the background sporadics for several
months.  Of course, this doesn't stop HSCW.  But the more pings, the better.

For more information, see "VHF Propagation by Meteor-Trail Ionization",
Walter F. Bain, W4LTU, QST, May, 1974; "VHF Meteor Scatter = An
Astronomical Perspective", Michael R. Owen, W9IP/2, QST June 1986;
"Handbook for Visual Meteor Observations", Editec by Paul Roggemans,
International Meteor Organization; current issues of Sky and Telescope;

Shelby, W8WN - EM77bq


Comments: Rein, W6/PA0ZN

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