Possible Meteor Shower from Comet C/2015 D4 (Borisov)

  • July 28, 2017 | Lindsay Marshall

On the morning of July 29 the earth passes close to the 1-revolution debris stream from Comet C/2015 D4 (Borisov). For 1-2 hours centred on 02h22 local South African time there is a possibility of meteors from a radiant at RA=079°, Dec= -32°. The coordinates relate to the constellation of Columba the Dove which will be very low on the eastern horizon at this time reaching an altitude of 26° by 04h30 when the earth exits the stream.

A team of astronomers from the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, Johannesburg Centre (ASSAJHB) will set up an observing site at Maropeng from where they will scour the sky for meteors that can be traced back to the position of Columba, the radiant, much like the spokes of wheel trace back to the hub. The observing team will record the activity in the sky with cameras and visually then plot the positions and direction of the streaks on charts for later analysis.

Maropeng was selected as an ideal observing site as the sky is sufficiently dark to detect faint meteors and the horizon unobstructed allowing the team to catch those streaking at low altitude to the north and south.

Should even only a few be observed it will confirm the existence of the stream. If none are observed it will confirm the opposite. Either way the results will be of important scientific value in refining data concerning Comet C/2015 D4 (Borisov). Data collected from various observing sites across the country will be collated by Tim Cooper who is a South African meteor specialist and internationally recognized for his work in this field.

For more information on Comet C/2015 D4 (Borisov) and meteors go to these links:

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