Basic Astronomy

Quadrantid meteor shower

Quadrantid meteor shower peaks on 3rd and 4th January but it is usually visible between 1st to 5th January. One can see upto 40 meteors per hour during peak. Meteors seems to radiate from the constellation Bootes, close to the North Star. In 1932, the Quadrantid meteor shower showed maximum activity with 80 meteors per hour. Unlike most of the other meteor showers, which remain close to peak for 1-2 days, Quadrantid meteor shower remain near peak only for few hours.

Peter Jenniskens of the Ames Research Center (NASA) discovered the source of this meteor shower in December 2003. He found evidence that meteoroids come from an "asteroid" 2003 EH1 which is probably a piece of a comet which collapsed around 500 years ago. The asteroid take 5.5 years to make an orbit around the Sun.

Origin of the name

The name of the shower comes from a defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis. The constellation was removed from the list of constellations by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1922, but because the shower had already been named after Quadrans Muralis, its name was not changed. The Quadrantids is also often reffered as Bootids after the modern constellation, Bootes.

How can you watch the show?

The meteors of the Quadrantid shower appear to fall from the constellation Bootes, close to the North Star. You should watch towards North star when the sky is darkest in your area. The best viewing times are usually about midnight to 2 am.

As always, if you can go far from the city, you will see better view of sky due to less light pollution. You may like to lie on a blanket in a park or rooftop to enjoy the show. It will also help you to have access of full view of the sky.







Related story

Meteor shower calendar

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