As usual, the Quadrantids occur every January in the form of a meteor shower that kicks off the new year. Compared to other meteor showers, this is quite strange. This year, the Quadrantids will peak on the night of January 3 and early morning of January 4. Fortunately, this year, the moonlight did not prevent the meteor “fireworks” to welcome the new year!
Basic information about the quadrantides
- Origin: 2003 EH1 (meteor, or perhaps a “rocky comet”)
- Broadcast point: Constellation of Muc Phu
- Activities: December 29 – January 12
- Maximum frequency: 80 sequences/hour
- Meteor speed: 41 km/s
Quadrantid meteors are quite faint, but in return, this meteor shower often produces more “fireballs,” is brighter, and lasts longer than regular meteors. Photo: A faint Quadrantid meteor appears in the sky over Alabama, USA, 2014. Author: Barry Simmons
NAME A CONSTELLATION THAT NO LONGER EXISTS
The first report of the Quadrantids came from Adolphe Quetelet, who observed this meteor shower in 1825 while working at the Brussels Observatory. At that time, the starting point of this meteor shower appeared in the constellation Quadrans Muralis (Quarter Ruler), the constellation named by the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande in 1795. The constellation owes its name to the astronomy instrument used to observe and map stars. Quandrans Muralis is located between the two constellations Draco and Bootes, near the tail of the Ursa Major star cluster. In 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) compiled a list of modern constellations and removed Quellerans Muralis from the list.
The constellation Quandrans Muralis is located in the upper right corner of the drawing. Source: Wiki
The Quandrantids have a rather strange origin. While most meteor showers come from cometary debris, the Quellentids come from the remains of an asteroid called 2003 EH1, which astronomers sometimes call the “rocky comet.”
Interestingly, some astronomers believe that 2003 EH1 is the remnant of comet C/1490 Y1, which disappeared into history after the famous meteor shower mentioned in records by the Chinese in 1490. It is possible that the meteor show of this time is due to part of the comet breaking up.
While most meteor showers peak within a few days, the Quandrantids have a narrower peak window of only about 6 hours. If observed at the right time, the meteor shower can reach 120 meteors per hour, which is comparable to the two largest meteor showers of the year, the Geminids and the Perseids.
According to the IAU, this year’s peak will fall at 2:00 GMT (9:00 Vietnam time) early in the morning of January 4, which will not be favorable for sightings in Vietnam. However, we can still expect a medium-sized meteor shower, reaching around 25-30 meteors/hour. Additionally, predicting the peak of meteor showers is often not very accurate.
Radiant location of the Quadrantid meteor shower. Source: Sky and Telescope
Currently, the starting point of the Quadratids is in the constellation Bouvier. This constellation begins to rise above the horizon at midnight, in the northeast. So be ready to observe around 1 or 2 a.m. You don’t necessarily have to find this constellation. Look in the sky so you don’t miss the long-tailed meteors!
Observing meteor showers requires no telescope or binoculars, but entirely with the naked eye. Find a ventilated area, away from electric lights, ideally in a completely dark place. Remember to bring a blanket and dress warmly as it gets cold at night. And remember to let your eyes get used to the dark for about 20-30 minutes and then observe!
In short: The Quadrantid meteor shower will peak on the night of January 3 and early morning of January 4. Be ready to observe around 1 or 2 a.m.
Moss Rock – Hanoi HAS Amateur Astronomy Association
Tham khảo Space and EarthSky