You must see the most elusive meteor shower of 2023 right after New Years

The Quaternoids The meteor shower is known for lighting up the sky with bright fireball meteors — but only if you can catch them during the peak few hours of their spectacular, which will occur on the night of January 3-4, 2023, between midnight and dawn . The Moon will be almost full, so the best viewing will be in the very early morning hours, the dark hour just before dawn.

What causes meteor showers?

Meteor showers are a cool reminder that we live in a giant ball of rock flying through space. As it orbits the Sun, Earth sometimes encounters dusty debris trailed by comets—or, in the case of the Quaternoids, in the wake of a small asteroid. The dust grains fall into our atmosphere and move so fast that the friction of the rushing air is enough to break them up, creating the tiny streaks of light we see during meteor showers.

Most of our planet’s encounters with these dusty debris trails occur at roughly the same point in its orbit, so you can think of the annual showers of meteors like the Quaternoids as Earth passes a familiar landmark in space.

NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Getty Images

How old is the Quadrantid meteor shower?

Stargazers first reported the Quadrantid meteor shower in 1825. It got its name because streaks of light from falling meteors seemed to radiate from somewhere in a dark constellation called Quadrans Muralis, near the North Star (Polaris). A French astronomer named Quadrans Muralis in 1795 after the instrument he used to plot the positions of the stars, called a quadrant. But when the International Astronomical Union compiled its list of “official” constellations in 1922, Quadrans Muralis didn’t make the cut.

It took until 2003 for astronomers to discover where the Quadrantid meteorites came from: a small asteroid called 2003 EH1, which may be the rocky remains of a comet that broke up, either thanks to the Sun’s heat or because it collided with something. It’s only about two miles wide, which is small for an asteroid—and that means the trail of dust in its wake is pretty narrow, too.

Earth also crosses the dust trail at right angles, reducing the time we spend passing through it. That’s why the annual Quadrantids fireworks show is so short. Most meteor showers last several weeks, but they have two or three days of really intense activity because that’s when Earth passes through the densest part of the source dust cloud. But even though the Quadrantids technically run from late December to mid-January, the actual show only lasts a few hours.

Where to see the Quadrantid meteor shower

The Quadrantids are mostly a Northern Hemisphere meteor shower, although if you’re north of 51°S you might be able to catch a glimpse. They should be visible across the entire night sky, but will appear to radiate from a point near Polaris, the North Star (look for the end of the handle of the Big Dipper).

For the best view, get as far away from the city lights as you can (and remember to turn off your car headlights) and find an open space with as wide a view of the sky as possible. This year it’s January, so prepare for cold. And don’t give up too soon. give your eyes at least half an hour to adjust to the dark.

2023 quadrilateral meteor shower forecast

Quadrantids have a habit of producing many fireballs: large bursts of light that occur when larger dust particles encounter a fiery limb in the upper atmosphere. At its peak, the Quadrantid shower can dazzle viewers with anywhere from 60 to more than 100 meteors per hour, if conditions are right. However, January’s weather doesn’t often provide perfect conditions for the entire northern hemisphere, and the near-full moon will light up the sky for most of the night, making the brief flashes harder to spot. Meteor watchers are advised to be prepared for anything.

When is the next meteor shower for 2023? — The next meteor shower will be the Lyrids, which will peak on April 21 and 22, 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *