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Really bright shooting stars over the North-East of England

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posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 02:40 PM

This will probably get cleared up really quickly but me and my dad have seen really bright shooting stars where we live 3 nights in a row now and were wondering if there's some kind of meteor shower (it isn't reported if it is
and they usually are?) or something else.

I've never seen so many in my life (or so many that are that bright)
They're sort of in a SW direction and I'm sure if anyone in the area has a look they'll hopefully see one. I'll try and get a video next time, but my phone isn't great.
They're pretty slow too, they sort of travel across for a while and then just fade out (as you'd expect really)

This is pretty much to tell other people about it as well as find out if anything specials going on really, but we'll have to see how many people are on here from the North! I did Google it, but nothing showed up. And I looked to see if I could find any threads about it but there isn't any either...

Thanks in advance for any help.

Oh, and I'm sorry if I didn't post this in the right place... I'm a bit new

posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 02:46 PM
Not sure if this is what you are seeing, but it could be the answer.

posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 03:06 PM
Ooooh! It probably is! Thanks!

I missed the one in August so it's kinda nice seeing stuff now
I'm sure it was cloudy that night.

I dunno how I didn't manage to find that site. I think I over-complicate my googling. I might need to refine the technique

posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 04:54 PM
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 slow.

At this time of year there are actually quite a few active meteors showers, although 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 writes:

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 showers.

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.

posted on Sep, 22 2009 @ 04:16 PM
reply to post by C.H.U.D.

Wow, thanks! That's pretty detailed there.
I did feel happy when I recognised the delta sign though. Good old dipoles come in handy for something!
In answer to time I'd say it was about... half 8 - 9pm ish. Unfortunately I can't get more specific than that. But they were big, and really quite slow. They stayed up there for ages before vanishing.
It's cloudy atm too so I couldn't tell you what constillation they were from, but they all seemed to be from roughly the same location, but were going in slightly different directions.

The artificial lights thing is a problem since the darkest place I can get to is my friends back garden and that isn't really... dark. I can't drive so it's difficult to get to places since I don't think lifts in the middle of the night will be appreciated.

But I'll keep a lookout still, because the big ones are still bright enough to see from here.
And thanks again for the help! I'll go back and re-read that now

[edit on 22-9-2009 by Ayana]

posted on Sep, 23 2009 @ 11:58 AM
Actually, there may be another possibility.

Since you said the objects were visible for a while...

How long would you estimate the objects were visible for?

If it was longer than 5 seconds, then there is a good chance that you were not seeing meteors, but a satellite in orbit as it glints in the sun. 10+ seconds and you can be 99.9% sure what you saw was not a meteor.

They can look just like meteors to the untrained eye. The ISS is a possibility as it has been visible over the previous week, and the time's match up well with what you said. However, the direction seems a little off.

If you go here, and enter your location, you can see predictions for ISS passes, as well as details of previous passes.

There are no particularly bright passes in the next week or two (still perhaps worth observing), but from around mid-October there are some bright visible passes that you should be able to see, and hopefully compare with what you saw. Look for the more negative numbers. A "-3.0 mag" pass is brighter than a "-2.0 mag" by a factor of 2.5x. At this brightness the ISS is brighter than any star in the sky, and should be easy to spot when it's relatively clear.

Good luck, and do let us know how you get on/if you see anything similar. Watching from a back garden is better than nothing, and as you say you can still see many bright astronomical phenomena even if conditions are not ideal.

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