In what would be the first celestial event to be seen in the New Year, the annual Quadrantid meteor shower is expected to peak in the pre-dawn hours on January 4. Scientists have suggested sky-watchers to observe this meteor shower from midnight and on through to sunrise on Monday morning so as to have the best view.
The Quadrantids’ performances in the past suggest that the meteor shower would exhibit 50-75 meteoroids per hour, a count that may go up to 100 provided the sky is exceptionally clear and dark. This would rank the Quadrantids up there with the Perseid and Geminid meteor showers, though Quadrantids are not as famous as the other two.
While the Perseids peak in mid-August, the Geminids are observed in mid-December. Quadrantids are much less well known despite the fact that, at its strongest, these are no less in strength as compared to the other two.
“This year offers a reasonably good possibility for viewing the Quadrantids from our part of the world. The shower is predicted to peak around 1 a.m. MST, and the moon, which should be a somewhat thick crescent two days past its last quarter phase, should not interfere too much. The biggest unknown, of course, is the weather”, say astronomers.
The Quadrantid meteor shower will happen this weekend. Viewing the show might be a bit tricky, but it’ll be well worth the effort. Here’s how, when, and why to watch this weekend’s meteor shower—and what a mysterious “disappeared constellation” has to do with it all.
The Quadrantids are the first meteor shower of the year. Somewhat unusually, they are not the result of debris from an ordinary comet burning up in the atmosphere. Instead, the interstellar debris that we see as a meteor shower comes from a mysterious and relatively newly-discovered object, 2003 EHI, told the Gizmodo.
The TheBayNet notes that, The New Year unfolds with fireworks that – really! – are from out of this world. Quadrantid meteors sprinkle shooting stars across the night sky from late Sunday evening into dark side of Monday morning.
For the 2016 edition of the Quadrantids (pronounced KWAD-ran-tids), the official peak is expected Monday (Jan. 4) at about 3 a.m., Eastern Time, with about 80 to 120 meteors per hour, according to the International Meteor Organization. If you’re lucky and patient, maybe you’ll catch a handful in the light-polluted urban and suburban areas. A last quarter moon creates favorable conditions for North American sky gazers to catch shooting stars, says the organization.
In other news AstroomyNow reported, the Quadrantid meteor shower is active 1—6 January each year, but there is a narrow window of opportunity in which to see it at its best since the peak activity lasts just a few hours. The maximum is predicted to occur at 8am GMT on 4 January. While this is in bright twilight for the UK, a second prediction from meteor dynamicist Jérémie Vaubaillon suggests a Quadrantid peak some hours earlier. This graphic therefore depicts the UK sky high to the south at 6am GMT on 4 January when the shower’s radiant will lie close to the zenith forming a right-angle with the familiar seven stars of the “Plough,” or Ursa Major overhead and Arcturus in the constellation Boötes to the southeast. For scale, the view is about 90 degrees wide, or four times the span of an outstretched hand held at arm’s length. AN graphic by Ade Ashford.