Treat yourself to a meteor shower this Saturday morning. The Quadrantids Meteor Shower starts January 1, 2009 and will peak in the morning hours of Saturday January 3rd.
What Time to View the Quadrantids Meteor Shower of 2009?
Quadrantids are known for strong short outbursts during the maximum. The expected climax will be at 12:50 Universal Time or 4:50 AM Pacific Standard Time on January 3rd.
What is the cause of the Quadrantids?
The Quadrantids are an interesting shower for two reasons. The first because most meteor showers are associated with a parent comet and second get their name or radiant from the constellation where they seem to originate. Neither is the case for this shower, or is it? The parent body of the Quadrantids is a near-earth asteroid named 2003 EH1 and their radiant constellation name is Bootes. Some may argue that this shower’s parent is a piece of the comet C/1490 Y1 that fell apart almost 500 years ago. Until 2003 their origin was virtually unknown until scientists crunched a mathematical equation that turned their attention to the presumed source the asteroid 2003 EH1.
So why not the name “Bootids” or something like that for this meteor shower?
There is a very simple answer: the Quadrantids still radiate from the constellation Bootes but Bootes had an old name, Quadrans Muralis. Quadrans Muralis didn’t make the new list of eighty-eight constellations published by the International Astronomical Union in 1922 and is now called Bootes, but the meteor shower’s name remained the same.
All of these interesting points are not just hype, the Quadrantids is a spectacular celestial event and with a waxing crescent moon in the sky viewers could see up to 120 meteors an hour during the peak (Saturday January 3rd 12:50 UT) This shower is best viewed by those in the northern hemisphere, because it originates from a point in the sky under the Big Dipper. For best viewing of this shower look east, observe as closely as possible to the peak and look to the darkest part of the sky.
Have fun and enjoy a great shower and get your “Bootes” out there to view it!
Keep your head up!
- Meteor Mark
Universal Time (UT)