2010 Quadrantid Shower

2010 Quadrantid CompositeThe annual Quadrantid meteor shower occurs when debris from an asteroid or comet intercepts the Earth at a high velocity (41 km/s, 92,000 mph). The parent body of the stream has recently been proposed to be the minor planet 2003 EH1, which is itself probably a burned out comet. Meteor showers are named for the constellation of their radiant. The Quadrantids are unusual in being named for Quadrans Muralis, a constellation name that is no longer in use. This shower is sometimes called the Boötids because the radiant is found in the constellation Boötes.

This is a composite image of 33 meteors recorded between sunset on January 2 and sunrise on January 3. Although the image was collected over about eight hours, most of the meteors occurred during just a couple of hours (see the frequency plot below). Because of this, and also because of its high declination, the radiant of the shower is very apparent in this image.

The conditions this year were poor for observing this shower. In addition to some high clouds during the night, the Moon was nearly full. The Moon has been removed from this composite except for one frame, and is visible near the 270° mark. The bright object near the bottom is a fireball.

Fireball videos:

This chart plots the total meteor activity over the evening of January 2/3. The radiant rose in Colorado at about UT 05:00, and astronomical twilight began at UT 12:45, extending to dawn at UT 14:20. The hourly rate is a simple raw count, uncorrected for ZHR. These data clearly show a significant peak in activity between UT 13:00 and 14:00.

2010 Quadrantid Activity

© Copyright 2010, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.