Quadrantids, First Meteor Shower of 2016, January 3-4, 2016

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower peaks Sunday night into Monday Morning, January 3-4, 2016.  The Waning Crescent Moon should be little interference. Sky shown here is 1:00 AM, Monday January 4, 2016 Quadrantid radiant, is approximately 15 degrees above the horizon (Stellarium screen capture). The Quadrantid radiant is in the corner of a right angle formed by the Big Dipper and bright star Arcturus.  Notice the accompanying meteor showers labeled in aqua and gold: pi Geminids, delta Cancerids, December Leonis Minorids, as well as Comet Catalina  (c/2013 u10), slightly east azimuth 65 degrees.

2016 Quadrantids

As indicated in Accuweather’s  the national weather map thumbnail below for Sunday Dusk through Monday Dawn Pittsburgh local weather is hindered by partial clouds however much of the country in a wide band from Texas through southeastern Pennsylvania and beyond anticipates good viewing.


AAAP’s Weather Resources indicate those in the Northern and Eastern Greater Pittsburgh Area may have an ideal clear sky opportunity on either side of Midnight.  Considering Pittsburgh weather it can vary.   If you cannot watch the Quadrantid meteors live you can see them with the Slooh Space Camera and with Ustream . The NASA Ustream channel includes a lively commentary by NASA scientists.

In ideal conditions the Quandrantids can yield counts as high as 100 per hour rivaling the Perseids and Geminids. In 2009 and 2013 counts surpassed expectations at 146, 137 respectively. The name comes from Quadrans Muralis, a former constellation created in 1795 by the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that is now part of Boötes.



Peter Jenniskens is quoted as saying “2003 EH_1 (cf. MPEC 2003-E27) would seem to be a very strong candidate for the parent of the Quadrantid meteoroid stream. The exact story behind the Quadrantid Meteor Shower remains unclear. So much more is yet to be discovered!


Image: http://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/leonidnews47.html

Updates and additional astronomy and AAAP information on AAAP’s Facebook Page.


Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.
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