2014 Meteor Shower viewing guide
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Quadrantids information


   

   
 
 
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General Info  
 

General information about Quadrantids

The first major shower of 2014 is the Quadrantids meteor shower. This annual shower has one of the highest predicted hourly rates of all the major showers, and is comparable to the two of the most lively, the August Perseids and the December Geminids.

This celestial event is active from December 28th through January 12th and peaks on the morning of January 3rd. In relation to meteor showers, the peak is defined as the moment of maximum activity when the most meteors can be seen by the observer. While the plus side of this annual shower is its ability to produce fireballs, and its high hourly rates, the downside is its short peak. Quadrantids has an extremely narrow peak, occurring over just a few short hours. The Quadrantids are also well known for producing fireballs, meteors that are exceptionally bright. These meteors can also, at times, generate persistent trails (also identified as trains).

Those living in the northern hemisphere have an opportunity to experience a much better view of the Quadrantids, as the constellation Boötes never makes it above the horizon in the southern hemisphere. This is great for those living in North America, much of Europe, and the majority of Asia. Unfortunately, those of you living in Australia and lower portions of South America will have a difficult time observing the Quadrantids. Observers in higher latitudes will have better gazing conditions, but nevertheless will need to be wary of cloud cover, as conditions are typically cloudy during this time of year.

The Quadrantids in 2014

This year, the large and bright waxing gibbous Moon (72% full) will coincide with the peak of the Quadrantids meteor shower. This is a stark contrast to the Quadrantids of last year, which occurred during a moonless night. While the light of the moon may reduce the quantity of meteors you’ll be able to see, you should still be able to observe all but the faintest meteors. While year will not be ideal for watching this January event, those willing to patiently wait it out in the cold (or warmth, for those in warmer environments) will be treated to the very first major meteor shower of 2014.

This year, the large and bright waxing gibbous Moon (72% full) will coincide with the peak of the Quadrantids meteor shower. This is a stark contrast to the Quadrantids of last year, which occurred during a moonless night. While the light of the moon may reduce the quantity of meteors you’ll be able to see, you should still be able to observe all but the faintest meteors. While thus year will not be ideal for watching this January event, those willing to patiently wait it out in the cold (or warmth, for those in warmer environments) will be treated to the very first major meteor shower of 2014.

The radiant of a meteor shower is the point in the sky from where the meteors appear to come (or radiate) from. In the case of Quadrantids, its radiant lies within the now extinct constellation Quadrans Muralis. Unlike all the other major annual showers, this one is named after a constellation which longer exists. For example, the Perseids meteor shower, occurring in August, is named after the constellation Perseus. The Geminids meteor shower, occurring in December, is named after the constellation Gemini.

The constellation Quadrands Muralis was made up of a faint group of stars between the top of Boötes and the handle of the Big Dipper. Quadrands Muralis is now part of the constellation Boötes, thus making Boötes the radiant of the Quadnrantids meteor shower. To find the location of the radiant, we recommend you first find Polaris (a middling-bright star, also known as the North Star) and observe in close proximity to that area. For more specificity, it lies between the end of the handle of the Big Dipper and the four-sided figure of stars marking the head of the constellation Draco.

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Moon forecast for January 3rd


Near New Moon. Quadrantids shower gazing conditions will be ideal. The moon will obstruct all but the brightest Quadrantids.


 

Quadrantids shower fact file


First apeared: Early-1830's

Name origin: Appears inside the constellation Boötes.

Parent: 2003 EH1 (minor planet)

Active start date: January 1st

Peak date: January 3trd (7:30UTC)

ZHR/Rate on peak: 40-60 per hour

Active end date: January 10th
 

 

Past Quadrantids Showers (Videos)

Quadrantids 1
Quadrantids 2
Quadrantids 3
 
General Info Quadrantids History
 

The recorded history of the Quadrantids meteor shower

The Quadrantids meteor shower was first observed in Italy by Antonio Brucalassi during the mid-1820’s on the morning of January 2nd. After this period, several other individuals asserted seeing the “falling stars” during the second day of January. The first re-discovery of the shower occurred in the year 1835, and then again in 1838. By 1839, it was believed that this activity in the sky was annual.

The meteor shower formally became known as the Quadrantids due to its proximity to the now extinct constellation named Quadrans Muralis, which was situated near the point meeting the constellations Hercules, Bootes, and Draco. A range of observations of the shower since the year 1864 have revealed that activity generally occurs between December 28 and January 7th.

The Quadrantids are particularly fascinating due to their incredibly sharp rise in activity during the 3rd and 4th days of January. During its recorded history, the Quadrantids meteor shower has had observed rates as low as 65 meteors per hour, and as high as 160 per hour.

Although much has been revealed about the characteristics of the shower, the Quadrantids has not been consistently studied by observers due to numerous factors. The wintry weather in the Northern latitudes is a deterrent for many, and the shower itself occurs too far north to be plausibly studied by those observing in the Southern Hemisphere.

The plant Jupiter plays a major role in the orbit of the Quadrantid meteor shower, and it is believed that the Quadrantids will no longer be visible on Earth by the year 2400. Throughout its history, this has also been one of the most interesting showers to observe due to their ability to produce occasional fireballs (bright meteors) that leave sporadic trails.

 

The Quadrantids: 1994 and beyond

Stay tuned as the Spacedex write up is currently in progress.

 
General Info

General information about Quadrantids

The first major shower of 2014 is the Quadrantids meteor shower. This annual shower has one of the highest predicted hourly rates of all the major showers, and is comparable to the two of the most lively, the August Perseids and the December Geminids. This celestial event is active from December 28th through January 12th and peaks on the morning of January 3rd. In relation to meteor showers, the peak is defined as the moment of maximum activity when the most meteors can be seen by the observer.

While the plus side of this annual shower is its ability to produce fireballs, and its high hourly rates, the downside is its short peak. Quadrantids has an extremely narrow peak, occurring over just a few short hours. The Quadrantids are also well known for producing fireballs, meteors that are exceptionally bright. These meteors can also, at times, generate persistent trails (also identified as trains).

Those living in the northern hemisphere have an opportunity to experience a much better view of the Quadrantids, as the constellation Boötes never makes it above the horizon in the southern hemisphere. This is great for those living in North America, much of Europe, and the majority of Asia.

Unfortunately, those of you living in Australia and lower portions of South America will have a difficult time observing the Quadrantids. Observers in higher latitudes will have better gazing conditions, but nevertheless will need to be wary of cloud cover, as conditions are typically cloudy during this time of year.

The Quadrantids in 2014

This year, the near Near Moon (8% full) will coincide with the peak of the Quadrantids meteor shower. This is similar to the Quadrantids of 2011, which occurred during a moonless night. Due to the lack of extreme moonlight, you should be able to observe even the faintest meteors. This year will be perfect for obsevering this January event, so those willing to patiently wait it out in the cold (for those in colder environments) will be treated to the very first major meteor shower of 2014.

The radiant of a meteor shower is the point in the sky from where the meteors appear to come (or radiate) from. In the case of Quadrantids, its radiant lies within the now extinct constellation Quadrans Muralis. Unlike all the other major annual showers, this one is named after a constellation which longer exists. For example, the Perseids meteor shower, occurring in August, is named after the constellation Perseus. The Geminids meteor shower, occurring in December, is named after the constellation Gemini.

The constellation Quadrands Muralis was made up of a faint group of stars between the top of Boötes and the handle of the Big Dipper. Quadrands Muralis is now part of the constellation Boötes, thus making Boötes the radiant of the Quadnrantids meteor shower. To find the location of the radiant, we recommend you first find Polaris (a middling-bright star, also known as the North Star) and observe in close proximity to that area. For more specificity, it lies between the end of the handle of the Big Dipper and the four-sided figure of stars marking the head of the constellation Draco.

Particles from a minor planet, potentially hundreds to see

While this wintery spectacle appears to radiate from a constellation, they are actually caused by the Earth passing through the dust particles of the minor planet 2003 EH1. Every January, Earth passes into a trail of dust left by this minor planet, and as a result, all the dust and debris burning up in our atmosphere, produces the spectacle known as the Quadrantids meteor shower, or what are popularly recognized as “shooting stars”.

There's no danger to sky watchers, though. The fragile grains disintegrate long before they reach the ground. While the meteors are certainly bright, they are typically not much larger than a grain of sand. However, as they travel at immense speeds, these tiny particles put on an exciting show.

During the 3rd of January, shower rates will be a portion of what they could be due to the radiant lying low in the northwestern sky. On average, and under clear skies, observers should see 40 to 60 meteors per hour. However, every so often, these rates can exceed up to 90 meteors per hour in dark-sky locations. In ideal condition—no cloud cover, precipitation, city lights, and no moonlight, the Quadrantids meteor shower should host a spectacular viewing experience!

How do I know the sky is dark enough to see meteors?

If you happen to live near a brightly lit city, if possible, we recommend that you drive away from the glow of city light. After you’ve escaped the glow of the city, find a dark, safe, and possibly isolated spot where oncoming vehicle headlights will not occasionally ruin your sensitive night vision.

Look for state or city parks or other safe, dark sites. Once you have settled down at your observation spot, face toward the northeastern portion of the heavens. This way you can have the Quadrantid’s radiant within your field of view. If you can see each star of the Little Dipper, your eyes have "dark adapted," and your chosen site is probably dark enough. Under these conditions, you will see plenty of meteors.

For many meteor showers it is often recommended to look straight up, but for this year’s Quadrantids we advise that observers face as low as possible toward the horizon without being looking at the ground. In other words, have the bottom of your field of view on the horizon. While you can still catch meteors while looking straight up, you will have an improved opportunity to observe more by looking toward the horizon. Meteors will grab your attention as they streak by!


 

Moon forecast for January 3rd


Near New Moon. Quadrantids shower gazing conditions will be ideal. You may observe even the faintest Quadrantids meteors.


 

Quadrantids shower fact file


First apeared: Early-1830's

Name origin: Appears inside the constellation Boötes.

Parent: 2003 EH1 (minor planet)

Radiant positon: 230° (RA) +49° (DEC)

Active start date: December 28th

Peak date: January 3rd (1300 UTC)

ZHR/Rate on peak: 40-60 per hour

Active end date: January 12th
 



 

Videos of past Quadrantids showers

Quadrantids 1
Quadrantids 2
Quadrantids 3




 

Data in visuals



 

 

Viewing locations and times to view the Quadrantids meteor shower


Africa Asia Australia South America
& The Caribbean
View Africa Countries View Asian Countries Australian Cities South American Counties
       
 

Europe

Albania Andorra Austria Belarus

Belgium Bosnia & Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia

Czech Republic Cyprus Denmark Estonia

Finland France Germany Greece

Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy

Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg

Malta Monaco Netherlands Norway

Poland Portugal Romania Russia

San Marino Serbia Scotland Slovakia

Slovenia Sweden Switzerland Spain

Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom Vatican City

 

 

North America - Mexico & United States

Mexico Alabama Alaska Arizona

Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut

Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii

Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa

Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine

Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota

Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska

Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico

New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio

Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island

South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas

Utah Vermont Virginia Washington

West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming  
 
 

North America - Canada

Alberta British Columbia Ontario Québec

Saskatchenwan Manitoba Nova Scotia New Brunswick

Newfoundland Nunavut Prince Edward Island Yukon

 

 

Central America

Belize Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala

Honduras Nicaragua Panama  
 

 

Having trouble finding a location? Search here:


 

Meteor Shower Tip

Meteor showers are named after the constellation which they appear to be falling from.


Quadrantids Tip

Keep in mind that any local light pollution or obstructions like tall trees or buildings will reduce your making a meteor sighting. Give your eyes time to dark-adapt before observing.


Your name in the stars

Guide to photographing meteor showers






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