Posted by: Jerry Garrett | January 3, 2012

Quadrantids 2012: Light Up The Pre-Dawn Sky Jan. 4

The complicated Quadrans Muralis constellation is no longer recognized by astonomers, but the meteor shower named after it lives on.

 

Catch a falling star?

That should be fairly easy in the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 4, 2012, when the annual Quadrantid meteor shower reaches its peak.

The Quadrantids, named for an obscure constellation called Quadrans Muralis, usually don’t create much of a show. But astronomers say this year up to 200 meteors an hour could be seen zipping across the east-northeast portion of the sky. (A more pessimistic expectation is about 120 an hour – but that is still two a minute!)

Much of the sky show will be too faint to see, because of the waxing gibbous moon, until the Moon sets about 3 a.m. From then, for about three hours until dawn starts to brighten the skies again, viewing should be good.

Watch for the meteors firing out from an area roughly encircled by Vega, Hercules, Arcturus, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and Draco.

Any dark area, away from city lights, should be good – the darker the better, as I point out in previous columns posted here about the very best places to catch meteor showers.

Happy Meteor Hunting!

Jerry Garrett

January 3, 2012


Responses

  1. […] January 2012 forecast here: Check out what astronomers expect from the unpredictable Quadrantids this […]


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