Monday, December 27, 2010


Peak on Jan 3rd/4th, 2011
The Quadrantids are an above average shower, with up to 60-80 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower usually peaks on January 3 & 4, but some meteors can be visible from January 1 - 10. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight.
Although the Quadrantids are a major shower, they are seldom observed. One reason is weather. The shower peaks in early January when northern winter is in full swing.
The source of the Quadrantid meteor shower was unknown until Dec. 2003 when Peter Jenniskens of the NASA Ames Research Center found evidence that Quadrantid meteoroids come from 2003 EH1, an "asteroid" that is probably a piece of a comet that broke apart some 500 years ago. Earth intersects the orbit of 2003 EH1 at a perpendicular angle, which means we quickly move through any debris. That's why the shower is so brief.

To Observe:
The Quadrantid meteor shower is one of the year's best, producing more than 100 meteors per hour from a radiant near the North Star. This year the shower peaks on Jan. 4th early morning. The timing favors observers in western North America and Across the Pacific Ocean.

The radiant of this shower is an area inside the constellation Boötes. The name comes from Quadrans Muralis, an obsolete constellation that is now part of Boötes. It lies between the end of the handle of the Big Dipper and the quadrilateral of stars marking the head of the constellation Draco. To find the location of the radiant, it is recommend that you find Polaris and observe near that area.

This year, a New Moon is slated to entirely strip the night sky of any moonlight close to the predicted maximum, creating perfect circumstances for observers in the northern hemisphere. On average, and under clear skies, observers should see 40 to 60 meteors per hour but every so often these rates can exceed up to 120 meteors per hour in rural locations. In the best conditions, the Quadrantids meteor shower should put on a spectacular viewing experience!

Facts File:
Maximum at: January 4, 01h10m UT (06h 40m IST)
Name origin: Appears inside the constellation Boötes.
Parent: 2003 EH1 (minor planet)
Active Period: January 1st – 10th
ZHR/Rate on peak: 60-120 per hour

More Details here:

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