Viewing the Quadrantid Meteor Shower in 2013

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Examples of Quadrantid meteors as seen looking north just before dawn from mid-northern latitudes

The Quadrantids are another obscure winter shower usually lost to cloudy weather or sub-freezing temperatures. If your sky is clear on the morning of January 3, 2013, you should check it out as the Quadrantids have the potential of being the strongest shower of the year. This display is active from January 1-10, but intense activity is limited to only six hours centered on the time of maximum activity. In 2013, the peak time is predicted to occur near 1300 Universal Time, which corresponds to 800am EDT and 500am PST on the morning of January 3rd, 2013. Unfortunately this timing is too late for most sites in North America as sunlight or morning twilight will interfere at this time for all but the western quarter of the USA, the western territories of Canada, and Alaska. If caught at maximum and viewed under rural skies, this display has the potential to produce in excess of 100 shower members per hour. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that these rates will be reached as a bright waning gibbous moon will be in the southern sky. If your sky is transparent it will still be possible to see good activity on the morning of the 3rd, no matter your location. Just be certain to watch as late as possible and to face toward the northern half of the sky with the moon at your back. Areas located in high northern latitudes also have the opportunity to view Quadrantid activity as soon as it becomes dark. This would avoid moonlight that interferes with morning observations this year. Favorable areas for such an attempt in 2013 would be Russia and Kazakhstan. For the rest of us, we will have to put up with moonlight and give it our best shot. This will be the last chance at decent meteor activity until the Lyrids peak in April.


One comment

  • Art Adkison 8 years ago

    This morning, 8/23/2013 at 5.05 am I saw and heard a large fireball moving from NW to SE over the Piedmont Oklahoma City area.

    Reply to Art

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