Alpha Aurigid Meteor Shower

For the second time this week, I’ve managed to drag myself out of bed in the dark, sleepy hours of the morning. This time I was hoping to catch the Alpha Aurigid meteor shower. It turned out to be fairly decent, especially considering the gibbous moon riding high in the sky. I counted 17 meteors from 4:15 – 5:15 AM (11:15 – 12:15 UT). About half of those were around 1st to 2nd magnitude, with the rest being 3rd magnitude or fainter. One spectacular meteor flashed up to about -3 magnitude, lighting up some surrounding alto-cumulus clouds as it blew past Sirius. Amanda saw one through our bedroom window just before I headed outside, and she decided that had to be the best way to watch this or any other meteor shower.

I shot 30 second exposures with my Canon Digital Rebel the whole time I was outside. Only one of the meteors I noticed was inside the frame of my camera, and it was too faint to pull out of the photo. I did find another exposure with a meteor I had not noticed visually. It was just east of Auriga and had a path intersecting the southeastern edge of the constellation. I’m pretty sure this was well outside the zone for the Alpha Aurigid radiant, making it a sporadic meteor. It was close though. And fairly colorful. The photo can be seen below.

Click image for larger version.