Quadrantida meteor shower puts on a spectacular winter show in the sky these days

(ORDO NEWS) — Observers from the Northern Hemisphere can expect to see the best meteor shower of 2022 in the coming days, January 3 and 4, 50 or more meteors per hour in the dark sky as the Quadrantids reach their maximum intensity on these days.

Meteors are small particles that enter the Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds, usually on the order of 40 kilometers per second for the Quadrantid meteor shower. The air heated to super-high temperatures around the moving meteor begins to glow brightly, and we observe this phenomenon from Earth as bright stripes remaining in the sky after the “shooting star”.

Throughout the year, every hour in the sky, you can see from 6 to 10 “random” meteors. Now the Earth is passing through a cloud of cometary or asteroid debris, so we observe a whole meteor shower, which is a stream of these debris entering our atmosphere. The quadrantids are associated with the near-Earth asteroid (196256) 2003 EH1, which may be an extinct comet that Chinese astronomers observed in 1490.

Meteor showers, when observed, appear to come from a single point in the sky called a radiant. In the case of the Quadrantids, their radiant was previously in the now-canceled Wall Quadrant constellation, which is why the stream got its name. Currently, the radiant of the Quadrantid meteor shower is in the direction of the constellation Bootes, next to the famous Plow asterism.

This year, the maximum flow of the Quadrantids falls at 20:40 GMT on January 3. The peak intensity is quite sharp, and after two hours the number of observed meteors will drop by 50 percent.

This year, the Moon in early January has just passed the new moon phase, and therefore its light will not interfere with observations of the meteor shower. Therefore, it would be wise to move away from the lights of the night city into an area with a dark sky and watch the meteor shower, reclining in a folding chair with a thermos of hot tea. The stream of the Quadrantida is observed with the naked eye, but it will be useful to bring binoculars with you.


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