Quadrantid meteor (right) seen at twilight
|Parent body||2003 EH1|
|Right ascension||15h 28m|
|Occurs during||January 1–6|
|Date of peak||January 3|
|Zenithal hourly rate||120 |
|See also: List of meteor showers|
The Quadrantids (QUA) are a January meteor shower. The zenithal hourly rate of this shower can be as high as two other reliably rich meteor showers, the Perseids in August and the Geminids in December. Yet Quadrantid meteors are not seen as often as meteors in these other two showers, because the peak intensity is exceedingly sharp, sometimes lasting only hours.
The 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 produces this shower is narrow – and apparently deriving from and within the last 500 years from some orbiting body. The parent body of the Quadrantids was tentatively identified in 2003 by Peter Jenniskens as the minor planet 2003 EH1, which in turn may be related to the comet C/1490 Y1 that was observed by Chinese, Japanese and Korean astronomers some 500 years ago.
The radiant point of this shower is an area inside the constellation Boötes, not far from the Big Dipper. It lies between the end of the handle of the Big Dipper and the quadrilateral of stars marking the head of the constellation Draco. This meteor shower is best seen in the northern hemisphere, but you can see Quadrantids down to -51 degrees latitude.
The name comes from Quadrans Muralis, an obsolete constellation that is now part of Boötes. The French astronomer Jerome Lalande created this constellation in 1795. In early January 1825, Antonio Brucalassi in Italy reported that “the atmosphere was traversed by a multitude of the luminous bodies known by the name of falling stars.” They appeared to radiate from Quadrans Muralis. In 1839, Adolphe Quetelet of Brussels Observatory in Belgium and Edward C. Herrick in Connecticut independently made the suggestion that the Quadrantids are an annual shower.
In 1922, the International Astronomical Union devised a list 88 modern constellations. The list was agreed upon by the International Astronomical Union at its inaugural General Assembly held in Rome in May 1922. It did not include a constellation Quadrans Muralis. The IAU officially adopted this list in 1930, but this meteor shower still retains the name Quadrantids, for the original and now obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis.
|Year||Quadrantids active between||Peak of shower||ZHRmax|
|2008||January 1–5||Jan 4||82|
|2009||January 1–5||Jan 3||146|
|2010||waning gibbous Moon (Full moon on Dec 31)|
|2011||Dec 28 — Jan 12||Jan 3||90|
|2012||Dec 28 — Jan 12||Jan 4||83|
|2013||Jan 3 waning gibbous Moon (Full moon on Dec 28)||137|
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- Quadrantids 2008: visual data quicklook
- Quadrantids 2009: visual data quicklook
- IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2010: January to March
- U.S. Naval Observatory Phases of the Moon 2009
- Quadrantids 2011: visual data quicklook
- Quadrantids 2012: visual data quicklook
- U.S. Naval Observatory Phases of the Moon 2012
- Quadrantids 2013: visual data quicklook
- Worldwide viewing times for the 2014 Quadrantids meteor shower
- 2013 Quadrantid Shower (Chris L Peterson @ Cloudbait Observatory)
- Quadrantids Create Year's First Meteor Shower (NASA 01.02.12)
- International Meteor Organization 2010 Meteor Shower Calendar
- NASA Quadrantid Airborne Campaign