August's poor relation, meteorically speaking, September is a month with the best sporadic rates and a few mysterious minor showers.
Alpha and Delta Aquarids, meteoric cousins, do benefit from the late August new moon, but that's the only observational good news. Alpha Aquarids are active from Aug. 25 to Sept. 5, with a ZHR of 10. Delta Aquarids are active September 5 thru October 10, with a ZHR of 6. The radiant rises clear of the horizon by 11 p.m. local time for us northern watchers. It is on view until dawn, when it will be zenithal. Faint, swift meteors are likely and the brighter ones may leave persistent trains.
These two form part of what is known as the Auriga-Cassiopiea-Perseus-Aries-Triangulum radiants, active from late August until mid-October. Too much area to visually plot, but it is such a beautiful area of the autumn sky that I'm sure you'll take a look at this radiant jumble.
The Piscids, active September 1 - 30, have a ZHR of 3. The Sextanids are active September 9 through October 9. This one is more of a radio/radar shower. If we were near the equator we might see some near dawn.
Enough said about September meteors. How about those Perseids? The moon was big and bright on the morning of August 12. Here's just one report...
Mojo and I set our alarm for 4:00 a.m. (11:00 UT) August 12th to catch the best of the Perseids. We set up a big fluffy down comforter and pillows on the back deck. This area is shielded from streetlights by the house. I counted 15 stars in the Great Square of Pegasus while Mojo counted a few less. Transparency was excellent.
Our view was from Cygnus to the west to Cassiopiea to the North. Directly overhead were Andromeda, Aries and Triangulum. In the hour we observed we counted about 40 meteors, half of which were Perseids. The rest were coming from many directions.
We observed a couple bright yellow fireballs which were definately Perseids. Many of the brighter meteors had wakes. When we were ready to come in - the sky was beginning to brighten with the coming dawn, we took a look at the Andromeda galaxy naked eye and through 7x50 binoculars. It was stunning!
An astro-morning would not be complete without a look at the rising planets, so we went to the front deck, facing east and watched the lovely triangle of Pleiades, Saturn and Jupiter rise through the trees. A jewel-like planetary asterism.
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