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Astro Bob

Quadrantid Meteor Shower A Sparkling Start To The New Year

2 Jan 2019, 17:08 UTC
Quadrantid Meteor Shower A Sparkling Start To The New Year
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The Quadrantids get their name from the constellation Quadrans Muralis, an obsolete constellation no longer recognized. Meteors will appear to stream from below the Big Dipper’s handle. This map shows the view looking northeast around 4:30 a.m. local time. Stellarium
You’re used to the cold by now, right? I’ll just assume you said “yes.” That’s good because we have another meteor shower coming up very soon. Friday morning (Jan. 4) is the peak of the annual Quadrantid meteor shower. Not a lot of people have seen the “Quads” for three reasons: frequent cloudiness this time of year, the cold and the event’s brief duration.
The shower peak lasts only about 6 hours and this year occurs around 8:30 p.m. (Central Time) Jan. 3, which sounds perfect except for one small detail — the radiant or point in the sky from which the meteors streak will be near or below the horizon for much of the U.S. and southern Canada at that time. But for skywatchers in Europe, North Africa and far western Asia, the timing is perfect. The radiant will stand high in the northeastern sky, and meteors will spitball at a rate of around 100 per hour. I’ve seen ...

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