Andromedid meteor outburst in progress


The Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR) is detecting an outburst of Andromedid meteors today.

"Meteor rates last night were near 20 per hour (ZHR)," reports Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "The shower could increase in intensity tonight, so we hope observers (especially Europeans) will be alert for meteors." 

Space Weather reports that the shower's radiant in Andromeda is high in the sky after sunset for observers in the northern hemisphere. A similar outburst of Andromedids in 2011 was rich in faint meteors. If the 2013 outburst is the same, dark skies will be required to see it. 

Andromedid meteoroids come from Comet Biela, which broke apart in the 19th century. Comet Biela or Biela's Comet (official designation: 3D/Biela) was a periodic Jupiter-family comet first recorded in 1772 by Montaigne and Messier and finally identified as periodic in 1826 by Wilhelm von Biela. It was subsequently observed to split in two and has not been seen since 1852. As a result it is currently considered to have been destroyed, although remnants appeared to have survived for some time as a meteor shower.

Featured image (above) shows Comet 3D/Biela in February 1846, soon after it split into two pieces. Image below shows its current position and orbit.

3D/Biela orbit diagram by NASA SSD/JPL

Featured image: Comet 3D/Biela – February 1846. Source: E. Weiß: "Bilderatlas der Sternenwelt"


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  1. @DiversebyDeisgn why would you assume that featured image (image below the headline, not the orbit diagram) is the galaxy Andromeda when it clearly says in text that it is Comet 3D/Biela in February 1846, soon after it split into two pieces?

    @Lisa… Why are the images misleading? Under both I clearly say what they represent.

  2. Meteor showers are typically named for their apparent point of radiation, for instance the Gemenids meteor shower has a point of radiation from the constellation Gemini but they originate from the path of an asteraid called 3200 Phaethon I would assume this one seems to radiate from the general area of the galaxy Andromeda but the meteors come from the remains of an extinct comet. I do agree the pictures on these pages are very misleading.

  3. Ok. The image (not the orbit map) shows what I would assume is the galaxy Andromeda. I assume this because they are calling the meteor shower an "andromedid" shower. So that would lead me to believe the comet or the meteor shower is somehow related to the Andromeda galaxy. But considering how far away the galaxy is, why would we even be effected or have a chance to see meteors from that galaxy all the way here on Earth? Especially just as we would a normal comet/meteor? It just does not make sense. They should not call it an Andromedid meteor unless it came from that galaxy and if that IS the case how could it come from there and be here already?

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