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2015’s First Meteor Shower: The Quadrantids

quadrantid meteors

January 3rd will mark 2015’s first meteor shower:  The Quadrantids.  This traditional meteor shower starts the year off and peaks at about 9pm ET on Saturday.

The Quadrantid meteor shower is a strange event.  Not only is it named after a constellation that no longer exists but it is spawned from a comet that is no longer a comet.  Astronomers say that the Quadrantids were created by a now extinct comet known as 2003 EH1, which is now in a highly inclined orbit due to its encounter with Jupiter.

Even though there will be a bright full moon in the sky you can still expect around 80 meteors an hour.  This meteor shower can be seen in the northern constellation called Bootes; however, back in the 1820s, this meteor shower was first noted as being in a portion of the sky that was known as the Quadrans Muralis, or, the Wall Quadrant.  In 1922 the Quadrans Muralis was incorporated into Bootes but it is still known as the Quadrantids.

The meteor shower will be best viewed through the weekend:  before dawn on Saturday and also on the following night.

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