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meteor shower


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An increase in meteor activity produced when the Earth passes through a trail of debris (a meteor stream) in orbit about the Sun. Meteors from a given shower appear to emanate from a common area of sky, the radiant. Meteor showers recur annually, and range from weak displays barely detectable above the background of sporadic meteors to major activity such as that of the Perseids or Geminids. During such strong showers, up to one meteor per minute can be seen for a day or so. Shower activity may be seen for only a few days in the case of a young meteor stream, or may persist for a number of weeks in the case of an older, more spread-out stream. The main showers are listed in the table.

Main Meteor Showers

Shower

Date of maximum

Radiant

ZHR (approx.)

RA

dec.

Quadrantidsa

January 3/4

15.3h

+49°

100

Lyrids

April 22

18.1h

+34°

 10

Eta Aquarids

May 5

22.3h

−01°

 35

Delta Aquarids (south)

July 29

22.6h

−17°

 25

       (north)

August 6

23.1h

+02°

 10

Perseids

August 12

03.1h

+58°

100

Orionids

October 20–22

06.3h

+16°

 25

Taurids (south)

November 5

03.5h

+15°

 10

    (north)

November 12

03.9h

+22°

 10

Leonidsb

November 17

10.2h

+22°

 10

Geminids

December 13

07.5h

+32°

100

Ursids

December 23

14.5h

+76°

 10

a Unusually sharp maximum.

b Major storms every 33 years.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.


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