The first meteor shower in 2021 will illuminate the night sky on New Year’s weekend

The first meteor shower in 2021 will illuminate the night sky on New Year’s weekend

Between once in a lifetime The culprit And saga Meet Jupiter and Saturn For the Great Conjunction, 2020 was a year full of celestial phenomena. But the year 2021 starts in vigor with the quadruple meteor shower peak NASA It is called one of the „best annual meteor showers“, from January 2 to January 3.

What are the quadrants?

According to NASA, the Quadrant She returns every year between December 28 and January 12. First seen in 1825, it originated from the small asteroid 1003 EH1, which was discovered in March 2003 by the Lowell Observatory to search for near-Earth objects.

Meteorites appear to radiate from a no longer existing constellation, called Quadrans Muralis, but that constellation is not the actual source of the meteorites.

„An alternate name for quadrilaterals is Bootids as meteorites appear to radiate from the modern constellation Bootes,“ NASA says. „Although the constellation may not be recognized anymore, it was considered a constellation long enough to give the meteor its name.“

The Quadrantids represent the last meteor showers of the season, just several months before the Celestial Activity. according to American Meteor SocietyIt’ll probably be the strongest shower of the year, along with Purses and Gemini.

During the short window from Saturday night to Sunday morning, there is an opportunity to spot between 60 to 200 meteors per hour moving at 25.5 miles per second. Quaternary meteorites are known for their bright fireball meteors, which are larger bursts of light and color that last longer than a typical meteorite streak.

Showering potential though, will be short: the window of maximum activity is only six hours.

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„The reason for the short peak is due to the gentle flow of particles in the shower and the fact that the Earth crosses the current at a perpendicular angle,“ NASA says.

Quadrantidas 30estelasdlopez1024.jpg
About 30 quadrant meteors can be counted in this celestial scene composed of digital frames recorded in a dark, moonless sky between 2:30 a.m. and local dawn.

Daniel Lopez / NASA APOD

How to watch a quadruple meteor shower

The quad is best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere, but bad weather conditions in early January make viewing even more difficult. Even if the sky was clear of clouds, a nearly full-fledged convex moon would continue to shine bright throughout the weekend, making meteorite spotting difficult.

Unlike many other common meteor showers, which peak over several nights, timing your tetrapods is essential for detecting meteors. according to Meteor International Organization, The peak is expected to occur around 14:30 UTC on Sunday – which means the best chance to witness the shower in North America will be at the dawn hours of Sunday morning.

Like all meteor showers, you’ll want to get away from all the bright city lights for the best view, lie on your back and give your eyes about 30 minutes to adapt to the darkness. Dress in winter clothes and be patient – the show will run until dawn.

After the Quadrantids, another meteor shower will not happen for more than three months, when the Lyrids and Eta Aquariids return at the end of April.

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