Meteor Shower – A West Coast January Treat

Where to Look

Where to Look

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)

14 thoughts on “Meteor Shower – A West Coast January Treat

  1. Have you had any reports of sightings yet? Being that it started this morning.

  2. Meteor Mom,

    I haven’t seen any yet. This is a very strong meteor shower closest to the peak date which is January 3rd.

    It is 8 degrees here so my viewing times are pretty short.

    – Meteor Mark

  3. Yea, that would cause a problem. It is only about 45 degrees here @ 3am. Do you think the East coast will see any action tonight? We were hoping for some kind of something.

  4. Meteor Mom,

    Yes I do think you will see some action. This is a strong meteor shower closest to their peak. View this one an hour or so before dawn and I would be willing to bet you will see some activity.

    Keep your head up my friend…

    View this comment for a map.

    – Meteor Mark

  5. I was looking forward to this meteor shower since the last few ones were washed out because of the moon but unfortunately, it will be cloudy here in southern Alberta Canada. I am so sad now. I’ve been checking the weather network hourly in hopes of things will change, but it doesn’t seem like it will. =(

  6. Mark,

    I have the same problem as well. The Quadrantids are somewhat faint. I just came in from viewing and saw about 8 in 15 minutes, but then the clouds took over the whole sky. This shower is so strong that you may still be able to catch a glimpse between the clouds if there are any spaces where you can see stars…

    Keep your head up!

    – Meteor Mark

  7. My husband and i just came in from watching the show. It is 0519 and we are on the East coast of Florida near Cocoa Beach. The sky is perfectly clear and we saw 3-4/minute just in a limited field of view. I am going to go back out now. Enjoy!

  8. We all went out around 2:30 and we saw a TON of them. It was GREAT! Especially being that the last few were a wash out for us. We had to have seen over 100 in the last 2hrs. It seems to have slowed a bit right now (5:23am) but, I might go back out to see if they pick up for the peak. Will let you know.
    Keeping our heads up!

  9. Cool! I am going to see if the clouds broke! I am motivated…

  10. Hello All,

    Thanks for the motivation. I just went outside it was awesome. I saw approximately 20 meteors in 15 minutes and the grand finale for me was a yellowy meteor that streaked across the sky and left a smoke trail!

    The simplest things in life are sometimes the greatest treats of all!

    Keep your head up!

    – Meteor Mark!

  11. I just got back and the sky was clear. I live in Medicine Hat, Alberta. I was out there for about 2 1/2 hours and seen about 30 and I too saw a yellowy meteor that streaked across the sky and left a smoke trail. It was so cold out and there was a wind chill warning but I still went anyways. It was about -33C with windchill -43C or -27F with windchill -45F. I was dressed up really really warm though. My cheeks and feet were freezing though haha. But it was all worth it. I left around 6am. I wanted to stay longer but I got too cold so I left.

    Thank you very much for all the info Meteor Mark!

  12. Mark L.

    Awesome! AWESOME! I’m glad you’re okay. It was about 20 degrees here and I couldn’t stand out there too long, haha!

    I appreciate your comments. Bookmark the page and I will update the site weekly to let you know when the next are coming.

    I also saw a yellowy meteor with a smoke trail, that was my encore and then I went inside.

    Bravo to the Quadrantids!

    – Meteor Mark

  13. January 3, 2009 Quadrantid Meteor Shower from Stafford, VA – I started viewing at 4:30am EST and saw well over 100 the first hour. One was particularly bright and had a persistant trail. I am pretty sure it was a Quadrantid and not just a sporadic meteor. I was babysitting a young puppy and was not able to spend much time trying to identify which were sporadic and which were actual Quadrantids. After 5:30am the skies became too bright with the astronomical twilight so my rates became lower but I am anxious to see what folks on the West Coast were able to see since the predicted peak was after sunrise here on the East Coast.