A new year is here, and stargazers are already in for a treat. The Quadrantid meteor shower is the first major meteor shower of the new decade. The prime period to enjoy the how is from the night of January 3 to the dawn of January 4.
It is well-known that the Quadrantids can generate between 50 to 100 meteors in a dark sky. However, a significant downside is represented by the fact that their peak activity cycle is very short in comparison to other meteor showers. For example, the peaks of the Gemini or Perseid meteor showers can last for at least 24 hours, allowing people from all over the world to enjoy them.
In the case of the Quadrantid meteor shower, the peak of the event will only last for a few hours. This means that only persons who live in select parts of the world, especially those were the radiant high is present in the sky, can admire the peak of the Quadrantids.
Quadrantid Meteor Shower Marks The First Significant Event Of 2020
People who live in the Northern Hemisphere are favored by the fact that the radiant point follows the northern section of the sky. According to the International Meteor Organization, the peak should be reached on January 4 at 08:00 UTC.
Should the prediction be accurate, people who live in North America will have a chance to see the best of the shower before dawn on January 4. It is essential to take into account the fact that meteor showers tend to disrespect even the best forecasts.
As in the case of other meteor showers, the Quadrantids were named after a constellation from where it appeared to radiate. That constellation was known as the Quadrans Muralis, and a French astronomer elaborated it in 1795. Further research revealed that the shower was annual. When a modern list constellation was adopted, Quadrans Muralis did not make the cut, but the name of the meteor shower was kept.