As usual, the Quadrantids take place in January each year as the opening meteor shower for 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 the morning of January 4. Fortunately, this year, the moonlight did not interfere with the “fireworks” meteor to welcome the new year!
Basic information about quadrantids
- Origin: 2003 EH1 (a meteorite, or possibly a “rocky comet”)
- Starting point: Constellation Muc Phu
- Activities: 29/12-01/12
- Maximum frequency: 80 striae/hour
- Meteor speed: 41 km/s
Quadrantids are quite faint, but in return this shower often produces more “fireballs”, which are brighter and longer lasting than regular meteors. Photo: A faint trail of Quadrantids meteors appears in the sky over Alabama, USA in 2014. Author: Barry Simmons
THE NAMES OF STARS DO NOT EXIST
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 source of this meteor shower appeared in the constellation Quadrans Muralis (Quadrans), a constellation named by the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande in 1795. The constellation is named after the instrument. Astronomy is used to observe and map the stars. Quandrans Muralis is located between the two constellations Thien Long (Draco) and Muc Phu (Bootes), near the tail of the Big Dipper star cluster. In 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) compiled a list of modern constellations and removed Quandrans Muralis from the list.
The constellation Quandrans Muralis is in the upper right corner of the design. Source: Wiki
The quandrantids have a rather strange origin. While most meteor showers come from comet debris, Quandrantids come from the remnants of an asteroid called 2003 EH1, which astronomers sometimes call a “rocky comet.”
Interestingly, some astronomers believe that 2003 EH1 is the remnant of comet C/1490 Y1, which disappeared from history after the major meteor shower mentioned in the record by the Chinese in 1490. Most likely, the show of meteors at this time was due to part of the comet burst.
GUIDELINES FOR COMMENTS
While most meteor showers peak within a few days, Quandrantids have a narrower peak period of only around 6 hours. If observed correctly at peak time, the meteor shower can reach 120 meteors/hour, comparable to the two biggest meteor showers of the year, Geminids and Perseids.
According to the IAU, this year’s peak will fall at 2:00 GMT (9:00 a.m. VN time), at dawn on January 4, which means it will not be favorable for sightings in Vietnam. However, a medium-sized meteor shower can still be expected, reaching around 25-30 meteors/hour. Also, meteor shower forecasts are often not very accurate.
Radiant location of the Quadrantids meteor shower. Source: Sky and Telescope
Currently, the Quadratides are located in the constellation of Bootes (Mu Phu). This constellation begins to rise above the horizon at midnight, in the northeast. So be prepared to observe around 1 or 2 am. You don’t need to find this constellation. Look across the sky so you don’t miss the long-tailed meteors!
Observing meteor showers does not require telescopes or binoculars, but completely with the naked eye. Find an open space away from electric lights, ideally in a completely dark area. Remember to bring blankets and warm clothes as it gets cold at night. And don’t forget to let your eyes adjust to the dark for about 20-30 minutes, then watch!
Brief: The Quadrantids meteor shower will peak on the night of January 3 and early in the morning of January 4. Be ready to observe around 1 or 2 a.m.
Rock Moss – Hanoi HAS Amateur Astronomy Association
Tham khảo Space & Earthsky