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Meteor Streams

Meteor streams are groups of meteoroids originating typically from dust grains ejected from comets. These small dust grains are distributed along the parent comet's orbit concentrated close to the comet nucleus with fewer grains farther away from the nucleus. Every time the Earth passes through such a stream of dust particles (i.e. meteor stream), we experience what is known as a meteor shower.

Of particular interest to solar system dynamics is the association of a parent (source) body with a specific meteor stream. The following table lists known meteor streams in chronological order of peak activity. In addition to the name of the meteor stream and time of peak activity, the associated parent body (where known) is also shown.

Meteor Stream Peak Activity Parent Body
Quadrantids early January  
delta-Cancrids mid-January  
alpha-Centaurids early February  
delta-Leonids late February  
gamma-Normids mid-March  
Virginids late March  
Lyrids late April C/1861 G1 (Thatcher)
pi-Puppids late April 26P/Grigg-Skjellerup
eta-Aquarids early May 1P/Halley
Sagittarids mid-May  
June Bootids late June  
Pegasids early July  
July Phoenicids mid-July  
Piscis Austrinids late July  
Southern delta-Aquarids late July  
alpha-Capricornids late July  
Southern iota-Aquarids early August  
Northern delta-Aquarids early August  
Perseids mid-August 109P/Swift-Tuttle
kappa-Cygnids mid-August  
Northern iota-Aquarids late August  
alpha-Aurigids early September  
delta-Aurigids early September  
Piscids late September  
Draconids early October 21P/Giacobini-Zinner
epsilon-Geminids mid-October C/1964 N1 (Ikeya)
Orionids late October 1P/Halley
Southern Taurids early November 2P/Encke
Northern Taurids mid-November 2P/Encke
Leonids mid-November 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
alpha-Monocerotids late November  
chi-Orionids early December  
Phoenicids early December 1819 W1
Puppid-Velids early December  
Monocerotids (Dec) early December C/1917 F1 (Mellish)
sigma-Hydrids mid-December  
Geminids mid-December 3200 Phaethon (1983 TB)
Coma Berenicids late December  
Ursids late December 8P/Tuttle

This list of meteor streams and peak activity times are based on data from the International Meteor Organization while the parent body associations are from Gary Kronk's book, METEOR SHOWERS: A Description Catalog, Enslow Publishers, New Jersey, ISBN 0-89490-071-4.

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