Orion, the Bull, the Pleiades and a meteor

A long bright meteor, too, and on the night of the elusive Unicorn meteor shower … but not a Unicorn meteor.

A long meteor beside a night scene of a radio tower and large house or barn.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Photo taken November 21, 2019, by Colin Chatfield of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Colin Chatfield in Saskatchewan caught this scene on the night of the Alpha Monocerotids meteor shower – November 21, 2019 – which was predicted to have a burst of meteors, but, sadly, didn’t live up to expectations. This meteor isn’t an Alpha Monocerotid. It’s not coming from the direction of the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn, which is located below Orion (see chart below). It’s a good meteor, though! Colin wrote at his Instagram page:

Orion can be seen rising above the house with the Hyades [Face of the Bull in the constellation Taurus] above that, and the Pleiades at the top … It was a fairly decent night, for November at least. The wind picked up but it was still better than what we could have had. This is a new favorite spot for us to go shooting at, not too far east of Saskatoon. We were fortunate to have some auroras make an appearance too.

Colin doesn’t mention the sky’s brightest star – the Dog Star, Sirius – but it’s in his photo, too, behind the scaffolding of the old windmill. Sirius is an important star in locating the constellation Monoceros, radiant point of the Alpha Monocerotids shower.

Read more: Unicorn meteors proved elusive after all

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Chart showing constellation Monoceros the Unicorn, near Orion and Sirius.

Monoceros the Unicorn – which contained the radiant point of the Alpha Monocerotids – isn’t a prominent constellation. But it’s located near some of the most easy-to-spot stars in the night sky, including those of Orion the Hunter (look for Orion’s 3 Belt stars in a short, straight row) and the sky’s brightest star, the Dog Star Sirius. Chart via SkyandTelescope.com. Used with permission.

Bottom line: Photo of Orion, the Bull, the Pleiades and a meteor, taken on the night of the elusive Unicorn meteor shower – the Alpha Monocerotids – November 21, 2019.

Deborah Byrd