Re: (meteorobs) Re: Explaination for New Observers

In a message dated 98-10-13 01:21:38 EDT, you write:

<< Your info was very helpful! I have just a few more questions.. how do i
 distinguish between meteors from an active shower and sporadics. Does it
 have something to do with where the meteor seems to originate from in the
  I would also like to know about "radiant". 
  Supposing the RA and Dec is specified for some object, how do I locate it in
 the sky? (The only equipment I have are my eyes!)  >>

I'm a little behind in reading my mail so if this has been answered already
please stop reading now - 

The way you distingush between a shower meteor and a sporadic meteor (if you
are counting) is that you must know where the radiant is. The radiant is a
spot in the sky where all meteors of a certain shower seem to eminate from.
Once you know where the radiant is - take a length of cord out to observe.
When you see your first meteor line the cord up with the path of the meteor.
Does it line up with the known radiant? If the answer is yes, then it belongs
to the shower being observed if it doesn't - then it's a sporadic.
One thing to note tho is that the shorter the meteor appears the closer to its
radiant it is and vica-versa. For example if you see a very long meteor close
to a radiant you're watching and it lines up it's NOT a shower member. And it
must be labeled a sporadic. Speed also plays a factor in determining shower
members. If the meteor to a shower is supposed to be fast and you see a slow
one that line up, it's not related to the shower.

The only way to locate an RA/DEC area in the sky is to actually learn the
constellations. Get a good star atlas that has the RA/DEC coordinates on it.
Then take your time and learn the sky.  Then it will be very easy to pin point
areas in the sky.

A nice easy read about the basics can be found in the NAMN site. Look for the
guidebook link.
URL=  http://medicine.wustl.edu/~kronkg/namn.html