Universe Guide

Quadrantids Meteor Shower

When and where does the Quadrantids Meteor Shower Occur

The Quadrantids  meteor shower takes place within the boundaries constellation of Bootes. The meteor shower occurs between Jan 01 - Jan 05 with the peak occurring on the Jan 03 every year.

The Solar Longitude (Abbrev: S.L., λ ☉) is 283 degrees, this value is the the date of maximum activity. It is measured as a degree with zero degree indicating spring equinox (roughly March 21st/22nd). 90 is the Summer Solstice, 180 is the Autumn Equinox and 270 is the Winter Solstice. This degree is independent of the calender. AMS .

The source of the meteor shower is Asteroid 2003 EH1. The coordinates can also be determined by the Right Ascension (230.2) and the Declination (49.5).

Zenith Hourly Rate

The Zenith Hourly Rate or how many you expect to see during the hour is 120. The ZHR can radically increase if the comet or associated object is close by. The speed/velocity of the Meteor Shower particles is 41 km/s. The population index of the meteor shower is 2. The population index refers to the magnitude distribution of the meteorites, the smaller the index, the brighter the meteors are, the higher, the dimmer the meteors are. For this particular meteor shower, faint meteors are more frequent.

Quadrantids Information

The Quadrantids are the first meteor shower to be seen in the solar calendar after making appearance from the very start of the year. Although it has a very high ZHR, they are very faint and are not that spectacular compared to other meteor showers. Whilst some meteor showers such as Geminids are celebrated because their peak intensity can last hours, Quantrantids are brief, they are see very early in the morning and only during a one or hour window. It is also a Northern Hemisphere meteor shower so the more south you are, the less likely you will be to see then.

The reason why the Quadrantids is brief is because the Earth passes through the meteor stream at a perpendicular angle. You'll need to be patient and wrap up warm to see them. Also be well away from any artificial light that might obscure. Before setting out, you should check the weather and what stage the moon is at. If the moon is full then light from the moon will reduce any chance you will have in seeing them. N.A.S.A.

Name of Quadrantids

Although they radiant from the constellation of Bootes, they are not named after the constellation. They are named after a now a no longer constellation Quadrans Muralis (Mural Quadrant) which is now consumed into the constellations of Bootes and Draco. The original constellation was created by French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795 but was dropped by the International Astronomical Union in 1922 when they agreed upon the current list of 88 constellations. Although the constellation fell out of use, the name for the meteor shower stayed. The Quadrans Muralis included Alkaid.

Source of the Quadrantids

The source of the meteor shower is believed to be an asteroid much in the same way as the Geminids are. However in this case, the object in question is believed to be asteroid 2003 EH1 which in turn is believed to be related to a comet C/1490 Y1 which was observed hundreds of years ago by Chinese, Japanese and Korean Astronomers. IOP

How to Find and View the Quadrantids

Northern Hemisphere

The Quadrantids can be located in the northern top of the constellation border. Although the constellation is very much below the horizon at about 6p.m., the Quadrantids should be visible in a north to north-west direction. During the night, the radiant point will rise higher into the sky. Although prolific, they are dim.

Southern Hemisphere

The Quadrantids are mainly a northern hemispheric meteor shower. You would need to be in an open space to see them. The Quadrantids are only visible on the horizon and only when the Sun is up so its going to be hard to see them. Using the picture below (Night Vision), rotate the picture all the way to see location of the radiant point.

Related Meteor Showers :-

Recent and Forthcoming Meteor Showers :-

Quadrantids Meteor Shower Facts

Associated Asteroid2003 EH1
Closest Star to Radiant PointNekkar
Peak Activity DateJan 03
Population Index2
Activity PeriodJan 01 - Jan 05
Right Ascension230.2
Solar Longitude / λ ☉283 °
Zenith Hourly Rate120
Semi-Major Axis2.8200

Location of the Radiant Point for the Quadrantids Meteor Shower

Map showing the location of where the Quadrantids radiate from within Bootes

The image showing the location of Quadrantids was generated using the free application Night Vision.

Comments and Questions

There's no register feature and no need to give an email address if you don't need to. All messages will be reviewed before being displayed. Comments may be merged or altered slightly such as if an email address is given in the main body of the comment.

You can decline to give a name which if that is the case, the comment will be attributed to a random star. A name is preferred even if its a random made up one by yourself.

This website is using cookies. More info. That's Fine