Quadrantids, 2013

Posted December 31, 2012 by User 1

The new year is almost here again and that means the return of the Quadrantid meteor shower. The shower is named for the now-defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis from where meteors of the shower appear to radiate from. A clear view of this radiant is optimal but unnecessary as meteors may appear throughout the sky.

The Quadrantids are characterized by a very short peak period of just a few hours during which the vast majority of the meteors fall. As a result, the time frame for viewing is very narrow and half the world may not see any at all due to the shower occurring during broad daylight. In 2013, the peak is expected to occur around 13:00 UTC on January 3rd. A waning gibbous moon (67.2% illuminated) will be present and may hide some of the fainter meteors. This almost half moon will likely be less of a problem than light pollution (being several times dimmer than a full moon) and so a location away from the city is still ideal.

The previous Quadrantids in 2012 had a peak zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) of 83 (in other words, 83 meteors per hour were visible under ideal conditions). A ZHR of 90 was observed in 2011. The rate this year is expected to be similar.


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