01-03-2008, 03:58 PM #1
Must-See Meteor Shower Friday Morning
SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist
The Quadrantid meteor shower is due to reach maximum in the predawn hours of Friday, Jan. 4. The Quadrantids are notoriously unpredictable, but if any year promises a fine display, this could be it.
Indeed, this may end up being the best meteor shower of 2008.
The Quadrantid (pronounced KWA-dran-tid) meteor shower provides one of the most intense annual meteor displays, with a brief, sharp maximum lasting but a few hours. The timing of peak activity favors Western Europe and eastern North America. Weather permitting, skywatchers in rural locations could see one or two shooting stars every minute during the peak.
Each year, many factors combine to make the peak of this display difficult to observe.
Peak intensity is exceedingly sharp: meteor rates exceed one-half of their highest value for only about 8-hours (compared to two days for the August Perseids). This means that the stream of particles that produce this shower is a narrow one – apparently derived within the last 500 years from a small comet. As viewed from mid-northern latitudes, we have to get up before dawn to see the Quadrantids at their best. This is because the radiant – that part of the sky from where the meteors to emanate – is down low on the northern horizon until about midnight, rising slowly higher as the night progresses. The growing light of dawn ends meteor observing usually by around 7 a.m. So, if the "Quads" are to be seen at all, some part of that 8-hour active period must fall between 2 and 7 a.m. In one out of every three years, bright moonlight spoils the view. Over northern latitudes, early January often sees inclement/unsettled weather.
It is not surprising then, that the Quadrantids are not as well-known as some of the other annual meteor showers, but 2008 may prove to be an unusual exception.
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01-03-2008, 07:07 PM #2Former Member
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
This sounds neat, but it's always too cloudy by us!!!
01-03-2008, 09:43 PM #3
Thank you Dark Knight- hopefully we'll see something here!