It does not sound as though you were seeing September Perseids (otherwise known as the "δ-Aurigids" and designated DAU) since their entry velocity
is actually relitively fast - listed as 64 km/s by the IMO here
and you said they appeared to be
At this time of year there are actually quite a few active meteors showers
all of them that peak around this time are minor showers, so it's not easy to say what shower they might have belonged to.
My guess would be that you have observed some "Southern Taurids" which actually peak in a
few months time
, but early "STA's" as they are designated as by the IMO can be
seen at this time according to new research. Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society
Recent video studies by Sirko Molau have revealed that activity from the
Southern Taurids (STA) is actually detectable beginning on September 7th. So
for now until December 10th, the Taurid radiants will replace the Antihelion
source since they overlap. The large Southern Taurid radiant is now centered
at 00:38 (010) +04. This area of the sky lies on the Pisces/Cetus border,
five degrees southwest of the fourth magnitude Delta Piscium. The radiant is
large so that any meteor from Pisces, northern Cetus, northeastern Aquarius,
or southwestern Pegasus could be a candidate for this shower. This radiant
is best placed near 0200 LDT when it lies on the meridian and is located
highest in the sky. Maximum activity is not until October 10th so current
rates should be near three no matter your location. With an entry velocity
of 29 km/sec., the average Southern Taurid meteor would be of medium-slow
STAs are often bright, and would be a possible candidate, although it would help in narrowing down the possibilities by saying what time/s you
observed the meteors in question. Here
you can find a
video clipof a spectacular Taurid fireball
, although not all Taurids look exactly like that or are
quite that spectacular.
There is also a fair chance that what you may have been seeing may have been random (or "sporadic") meteors or meteors from various unrelated
To work out if they were related or not you must trace the paths of the meteors backwards
, and if the backwards extended paths of the meteors
all converge together, there is a very good chance that they are all members of one shower.
Most experienced meteor observes trace the path backwards in their head, but it is sometimes useful to keep a length of string tied to your finger, so
that when a meteor appears you can raise it up and pull it taught in line with the meteor's path, and see if the string extends backwards through the
suspected shower's "radiant".
Every meteor shower has a radiant, and meteors will always appear to travel away from it, a bit like the spokes on a bicycle wheel which radiate
outwards from a point.
Usually the shower is named after the constellation in which the radiant happens to be in during the peak of that shower, for example the "September
Perseids", which is actually not the official name but a nickname, are actually known as the "δ-Aurigids" (Delta-Aurigids) after the constellation
Auriga. Likewise the Taurid radiant is to be found in Taurus during the park of the Taurid meteor shower, or during the peaks
as I should say
since the Taurids are divided into multiple sub-streams/radiants.
All I can recommend is to carry on watching and to familiarize yourself with the constellations (This software
will help you). You will find that bright meteors are actually fairly common, but sometimes you just need a little luck to see them. I think you just
got lucky, but if you want to try for more, you can increase your chances by doing a few simple things:
- Observe on and around the peak nights.
- Observe for long periods of time, especially towards dawn when meteor rates tend to increase in general.
- Find a sun-bed and/or at least a sleeping bag so that you can be horizontal and
at the same time comfortable while you observe. Being
horizontal and looking straight up gives you the best chance of catching meteors all around you in the sky.
- Choose your observing site carefully, so that it is unhindered by artificial light as possible (ideally a few hundred miles away from the nearest
artificial lights - the further the better!) and also so that your horizons are as clear as possible ie. on a hill (or even better mountain top)
rather than a site with trees or buildings obstructing your view of the sky. The more out in the open you are, the more meteors you will catch.
- Make sure that you wrap up well, and use a sleeping bag or lots of blankets if you plan to spend any length of time outside under the stars at this
time of year. With a clear sky, temperatures can fall rapidly, and especially if you are observing from somewhere where it is quite exposed which is
ideal for observing, but invariably very cold!
- Keep an eye on the Space Exploration forum here on ATS for upcoming events, like the Orionids which will be peaking in less than a month's time
Have a look through my profile
for more meteor related
threads, and also this general guide
for more links and info on the subject.
Good luck, and please feel free to ask if you have any questions.