Science

Published on January 2nd, 2013 | by James Ayre

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Quadrantids Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight, Early January 3, 2013

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January 2nd, 2013 by

Tonight, around 2am January 3, 2013, the first major meteor shower of the year will occur, the Quadrantids. Those watching should expect to see up to 40 or so meteors an hour, though the dimmer ones will washed out somewhat by moonlight.

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The moon will be in its ‘waning gibbous’ phase, which means it will brighten the sky somewhat but not as much as a full moon. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, if you find a dark place with clear skies you should be good to go.

For a complete listing of this years meteor showers and times, see: Meteor Showers 2013.


“Scientists suspect that the meteors of the Quadrantids are debris from the asteroid 2003 EH1 — the same source of the Geminid meteor shower every December. The asteroid itself may be a chunk from a shattered comet that broke into pieces several hundred years ago, NASA officials said in a statement.”

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“The Quadrantid meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through a stream of debris from the comet. The fragments slam into the atmosphere at 90,000 mph (144,841 kph) and burn up 50 miles (80.5 km) above the planet in a dazzling display.”

The Quadrantids are named after the now unused constellation, Quadrans. Quadrans was originally used a an ‘instrument’ to plot the locations of stars. When the meteor shower was ‘discovered’ in 1825 the constellation was still in use.

For those who will be watching tonight: Find a place with dark clear skies, Dress warmly, get comfortable with a lawn chair or blankets, and bring something warm to drink, like hot chocolate or coffee.

Source: Space

Image Credits: Starry Night Software

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



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