2015 Quadrantids Meteor Shower

Quadrantids is the first meteor shower of the new year. It is known for having an extremely short peak, but can produce an impressive show. Welcome to our guide for the 2014 Quadrantids meteor shower. Here, you'll discover how to watch, meet-ups, and find local dark sites.



What is the Quadrantids Meteor Shower?

The first major shower of 2013 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 Bootes 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 meteor shower in 2013

This year, the Waning Gibbous (65% full) will coincide with the peak of the Quadrantids meteor shower. This a stark contrast to the Quadrantids of 2011, which occurred during a moonless night, but better than last year (Waning Gibbous Moon at 73%). 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. This year will be fine 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 2013.

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 Bootes and the handle of the Big Dipper. Quadrands Muralis is now part of the constellation Bootes, thus making Bootes 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.

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!

Days until peak
Quadrantids peaks on the morning of January 3rd through the 4th.

Waxing Gibbous
Quadrantids gazing conditions may not be ideal. The Moon may obstruct all but the brightest meteors.

Bootes
The Quadrantids meteor shower is best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere.

Northern
The Quadrantids meteor shower is best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere.

See local viewing hours

Technical Facts

Meteor Shower name
Quadrantids

Name origin
Constellation Bootes

Meteors Per Hour
30-50 per hour

Parent
2003 EH1 (Planet)

Radiant Position
230* (RA) +49* (DEC)

Velocity of shower
40 kilometers per second

Quadrantids colors
Shades of Blue

Active start date
December 12, 2013

Active end date
January 3, 2014

Date of peak in 2013
January 3, 2014

Quadrantids Colors






Major Meteors
Quadranrids peaks on January 3-4
Lyrids peaks on April 22-23
ETA Aquariids peaks on May 6-7
Delta Aquariids peaks on July 28-29
Perseids peaks on August 12-13
Orionids peaks on October 21-22
Leonids peaks on November 17-18
Geminids peaks on December 13-14

Glossary
A constellation is a group of stars that form a particular pattern in the sky. Most of the constellations we know have been given names, for example Orion the Hunter and the Great Bear.

Constellation

More
A constellation is a group of stars forming a pattern. This patten is named after its apparent form or itentified with a mythological figure.

Meteor

More
A meteor is a space rock—or meteoroid—that enters Earth's atmosphere. As the space rock falls toward Earth, it burns due to resistance." When Earth encounters many meteoroids at once, we call it a meteor shower.

Meteor Shower

More
A constellation is a group of stars forming a pattern. This patten is named after its apparent form or itentified with a mythological figure.

Zenthial Hourly Rate

A constellation is a group of stars forming a pattern. This patten is named after its apparent form or itentified with a mythological figure.

Radiant

More
A constellation is a group of stars forming a pattern. This patten is named after its apparent form or itentified with a mythological figure.

Peak

More


Moon Forecast

August 23, 2016

- The Moon will be 23% full during the night of the1.0 2014 Quadrantids meteor shower. In regards of natural lighting, sky gazing conditions will be good; better than last year.

2015

Percent of Moon Full

2014

Percent of Moon Full

2013

Percent of Moon Full

2012

Percent of Moon Full




History of Quadrantids
  • 1825

    The first observation of the Quadrantids seems to have occurred on the morning of 1825 January 2, when Antonio Brucalassi (Italy) remarked that "the atmosphere was traversed by a multitude of the luminous bodies known by the name of falling stars." Apparently accidental rediscoveries were also made on 1835 January 2, by Louis Francois Wartmann (Switzerland), and on 1838 January 2, by M. Reynier (Switzerland).

  • 1839

    First mention that early January activity might be annual came in 1839, when Adolphe Quetelet (Brussels Observatory, Belgium) and Edward C. Herrick (Connecticut) independently made the suggestion. The meteor shower became known as the Quadrantids because of its emanation from a now obsolete constellation called Quadrans Muralis (the Mural Quadrant) located on some 19th-century star atlases near the point of meeting between Hercules, Boötes and Draco.

  • 1863

    Few details were published about this meteor shower during the first couple of decades following its discovery. The first major useful observation of this shower came in 1863, when Stillman Masterman (USA) determined the position of the place from which the meteors appeared to emanate for the very first time. The following year, Alexander Stewart Herschel (England) was met with the unusually high rate of 60 meteors per hour at a time when the radiant was at an average height of only 19°! Although Herschel's high hourly rate did not become an annual event, it did help to stimulate interest in the shower in the years that followed.


Constellation

Meet Bootes the Dragon. Every meteor shower has a radiant. The radiant is the point in the sky from which meteors appear to come from. The radiant of the Quadrantids meteor shower radiant lies within the consellation Bootes. Since a constellation is just a group of stars, finding the constellation Bootes in the sky will help you observe the Quadrantids meteor shower better.


Major Meteors



Quadrantids Skymap

Launch the Spacedex Skymap viewer for a visual look at observing the Quadrantids meteor shower.

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