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Today's Meteor Activity
The 'Today's Meteor Activity' graphic shows the averaged daily Meteor Activity provided by the Radio Meteor Observing Bulletin (RMOB). It's updated every hour. This graphic is free for linking to from your own website by using this link http://mmmonvhf.de/ms/ms.png
UPCOMING METEOR SHOWERS: DECEMBER 2016
December is, as usual, characterized by the return of one of the most active (and probably the most reliable) major annual showers: the Geminids.
Geminids maximum is expected to occur on December 14th, 00h20m UT, with ZHR = 120 hr-1 at peak. Since the peak has shown slight signs of variability in its rates and timing in recent years, please note that the more reliably-observed maxima during the past two decades have all occurred within the range λsol = 261.5 and 262.4 degs, equivalent to 2016 December 13th, 08h UT to December 14th, 05h UT. Near-peak rates usually persist for almost a day, while fainter meteors should be most abundant almost a day ahead of the visual maximum. The Geminids peak is typically quite broad (thus ensuring a several-days-long period of good MS activity), although the rates sometimes decay fairly quickly after the maximum.
Regarding minor showers, Southern Emisphere observers will carefully monitor Phoenicids(peaking Dec. 2nd) and Puppids/Velids (peaking Dec. 7th), while in the Northern Emisphere the most interesting among December's minor showers is Ursids. Ursids produced two major outbursts in the past 70 years (in 1945 and 1986) and several other rate enhancements (1988, 1994, 2000, 2006, 2007 and 2008), the latter probably influenced by the relative proximity of the shower's parent comet, 8P/Tuttle, at perihelion in January 2008. No unusually strong activity has been forecast for 2016, although calulations by Jeremie Vaubaillon indicate that some weak activity could be present in the nights December 22/23 and 23/24 close to 0h UT on each occasion.
Modelling by Jeremie Vaubaillon indicates also that the 66-Draconids meteor shower might show some enhanced activity on December 2 (around 21h30m UT) and December 3 (around 07h UT), when the Earth's orbit will cross two higher density regions of the meteoroid cloud associated with the asteroid 2001XQ. This could potentially lead to slight meteor activity enhancement, although not at outburst level.
For Radio Observers, the (Theoretical) UT peaks for upcoming showers in December 2016 are as follows:
Phoenicids (Southern Emisphere shower)
Active: November 28 - December 09
Maximum: December 02, (λsol= 250 degs)
ZHR: Variable - typically low, but may reach 100 hr-1 or more
Puppids / Velids (Southern Emisphere shower)
Active: December 01 - December 15
Maximum: December 07 (λsol= 255 degs)
ZHR: Low (10 hr-1)
Active: December 05 - December 20
Maximum: December 08 (λsol= 257 degs)
ZHR: Low (2 hr-1)
Active: December 03 - December 15
Maximum: December 11 (λsol= 260 degs)
ZHR: Low (3 hr-1)
Active: December 04 - December 17
Maximum: December 14, 00h20m UT (λsol= 262.2 degs)
ZHR: HIGH (120 hr-1)
Active: December 12 - December 23
Maximum: December 15 (λsol= 264 degs)
ZHR: Low (3 hr-1)
December Leonis Minorids
Active: December 05 - February 04
Maximum: December 19 (λsol= 268 degs)
ZHR: Low (5 hr-1)
Active: December 17 - December 26
Maximum: December 22, 09h UT (λsol= 270.7 degs)
ZHR: Low (10 hr-1)
Some tips about Geminids:
The Geminids Radiant is circumpolar (that means, is above horizon the entire day) for every observer northern of about 57degs N latitude during shower activity. At southern latitude in Europe, the radiant will set in the late morning and rise in the early evening.
For a Central Europe observer (say, in JN59 square and surroundings) the radiant is below horizon from about 10:30 UT till about 16 UT. Radiant elevation is relatively low above horizon in late morning (08:30-10:30 UT) and late afternoon (16-18:30 UT). Radiant culminates around 01 UT and remains rather high above horizon in late night (00-03 UT). Optimal height of radiant above horizon for best radio efficiency can be found between 20 UT and 23 UT, and between 04 UT and 07 UT.
For the Central Europe observer mentioned above, the relative radiant position tends to favor especially the radio paths in N/S direction, in the morning and early night hours. Best geometric efficiency direction Vs. Time around Geminids maximum can thus be summarized as follows:
Direction of radio path vs. Time for best efficiency (UT):
N/S: 04 - 06 and 20 - 22
NE/SW: 05 - 08 and 21 - 00
E/W: 01 - 02
NW/SE: 03 - 05 and 19 - 22
This calculation is valid for the center Europe observer as mentioned. Moving significantly away from that area will somewhat change the times for best efficiency, so this table should be used only for an approximate evaluation (although somehow valid for most Europe). Check your actual directions for best efficiency Vs. Time for your area, using tools like Virgo, OH5IY soft and so on. Please note that the above calculated efficiency applies better on Underdense trails ( that produce Pings), while Overdense trails ( that produce longer Bursts) are somewhat less dependent by geometry (radiant position with respect to direction of radio path).