Casual Astronomy, Spaceflight News and Lower California Weather

Naked Eye Astronomy Event

By: LowerCal, 2:48 AM GMT on December 24, 2006

***** January 5 Afternoon Update

The peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower is past but those who rise before dawn tomorrow may see a few if they're lucky.

My next blog will cover meteor showers for the next year ... unless the sky produces something unforseen and noteworthy first. :)

***** New Year's Eve Update

Before getting up early to see a meteor shower next year you might want to know if and when your sky will be clear. I've found the following product to be amazingly accurate.

click for full size with explanations & help
(click for full size with explanations & help)

Find a Clear Sky Clock near you.

Thank the creators of the Clear Sky Clocks.

***** Original Entry

(Updates in bold)

The Quadrantid meteor shower will be observable the morning of 4 January. It has the 3rd highest hourly rate of all the regular meteor showers. The usual hourly rate of the Quadrantid meteor shower is about half that of the recent Geminid meteor shower. However the typical Quadrantid is faint and this January 4th a bright full moon will be high in the sky so the number will be reduced significantly.

Unlike the recent Geminid meteors the Quadrantid meteors will not be visible during evening hours. Like most meteor showers prime viewing time will be in the early morning hours before dawn.

The brief peak of the Quadrantid shower may also work against a great show in the Americas this year. Northern Europeans may have the best seat since the peak will be centered around 12:30am GMT (0030Z) 4 January. As with any meteor shower there will be some meteors in the few days before and after the peak.

Here are schedules of viewing times for a couple of latitudes.

For the Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta strip:
11:00pm - you might start seeing a few earthgrazers*
3:00am - the hourly rate should reach half it's maximum
5:30am - the brightening dawn will start to wash out the fainter meteors after this time

For the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico strip:
1:30am - you might start seeing a few earthgrazers*
4:30am - the hourly rate should reach half it's maximum
5:40am - the brightening dawn will start to wash out the fainter meteors after this time

*Earthgrazers are the earliest meteors visible during a night of a meteor shower. The area the meteors are coming from is just starting to rise above the horizon. Any meteors that plunge downward into the atmosphere won't be seen then. At that time only meteors that skim the atmosphere will be visible -- "earthgrazers".

Questions are welcome. I may be scarce this holiday season but I'll send WU mail when I answer.

Updated: 9:52 PM GMT on February 13, 2007

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