2012 Quadrantid Shower

2012 Quadrantid CompositeThe annual Quadrantid meteor shower occurs when debris from minor planet 2003 EH1 intercepts the Earth at a high velocity (41 km/s, 92,000 mph). This parent body 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 68 meteors recorded between sunset on January 3 and sunrise on January 4. 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 good- clear weather and no interference from the Moon after 3am local (UT 10:00).

Fireball videos:

This chart plots the total meteor activity over the evening of January 3/4. 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 appear to show some interesting structure in the debris stream. The predicted peak was for UT 07:20, while the radiant was very low in Colorado, and there was still some interference from the Moon. The meteors recorded here are magnitude 1 and brighter.

2012 Quadrantid Activity

© Copyright 2012, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.