Quadrantid Meteor Shower

The first meteor shower of 2015 is the annual Quadrantid meteor shower. The Quadrantids are a reliable shower, producing 60-120 ZHR, one to two meteors per minute. The Quadrantids are named for the obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis, now part of the constellation Boötes.

Leonids in Orion
A pair of Leonid meteors streak through Orion
Unlike other showers where activity can occur for days or even weeks, the Quadrantids have a sharp peak, activity falls off rapidly on the preceding and following nights, or even a few hours away from the peak. Thus it is important to observe the Quadrantids quite near the peak prediction. For 2015 the peak is predicted for January 4th around 02:00UT, or January 3rd at 16:00HST on this side of the globe, mid-afternoon. The shower radiant in Boötes does not rise until around 2am local time. Combine the light of a full moon and poor timing and you quickly see that observing conditions are less than ideal for observing this year’s shower.

Watching meteors requires no more equipment than your eyes and a dark sky, and can be enjoyable for just about anyone. Set the alarm early? Probably not this year.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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