The evening sky in January is at all times fascinating to look at, to skilled and beginner astronomers alike. The annual meteor shower within the constellation Coma Berenices just isn't generally called a bringer of a terrific spectacle within the evening sky, however this yr it did present some spectacular sights to observers who occurred to be in the suitable place on the proper time.
The Coma Berenicids often peak in late December, however this yr the brightest show of meteors is anticipated to happen on the morning of January 19.
The meteor shower in Coma Berenices in December was first recorded greater than 50 years in the past. On the time, it was confused for an additional shower that happens within the close by constellation Leo Minor. Subsequently, it was known as the "December Leo Minorids." The confusion is comprehensible. The Coma Berenicids are roughly simply as swift getting into the ambiance because the Leo Minorids, with velocities of roughly 64 kilometres per second. Past that, so far as meteor showers go, the Coma Berenicids are comparatively inconspicuous, throwing solely a number of vivid meteors every hour.
This yr, howerever, is perhaps an exception. Whereas the Coma Berenicids often should not have any main shows of exercise, observers within the U.Ok. have reported fairly a sight in current days, going as far as to explain it as "fireplace balls" within the evening sky. An observer in Cumbria reported seeing "an enormous vivid yellow sq. with 4 triangular yellow flashes emitting from the principle physique... it traveled slowly with no sound from NE to SW and burnt out over the Sea--fantastic sight!" An observer in Scotland reported "20-25 orange balls streaking throughout the sky" on New 12 months's Eve.
The meteor shower was so intense that it even frightened some observers. David Pulman, a British pilot, stated, "My spouse has been in a little bit of a panic ever since as she fears there's some type of official information black out! They have been very simply visible- no want for telescope or binoculars. They should have been fairly huge too so that we might see them so clearly- and clearly fireplace balls- to the purpose of with the ability to see them (principally) fritter away within the ambiance."
The Coma Berenicids may be noticed yearly between December eight and January 23.