Sunday, May 19, 2013
By Latin Times Staff Writer, Jan 01, 2013 12:08 PM EST
(PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr) A view of the Quadrantid meteor shower from 2011. This year, the meteor shower is predicted to peak Jan. 3 at 1300 UTC.
The Quadrantid meteor shower, the first meteor shower of 2013, will peak Jan. 3, according to Earthsky.com.
Always the first meteor shower of the new year, the Quadrantid shower comes each year in early January. The celestial light show is best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere as its radiant point is so far north the sky's dome.
According to Earthsky.com, the shower may be the strongest and most famous major meteor shower you've never seen. That's because when compared to big boys like August's Perseid and December's Geminid showers, the Quadrantids' peak is extremely narrow. The Perseid and Geminid showers persist for about one full day or more, which allows all time zones the world over the chance to enjoy the heavenly phenomenon. In comparison, the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower takes place within just a few hours.
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So, to view the Quadrantid shower, timing and location is everything. For best viewing - and, really, to view it period - you'll need to be some place where it's night during the shower's peak, preferably with the radiant high in your sky, to be able to observe the light show. Different sources are providing a range of times for the meteor shower peaks, but we'll side with EarthSky and the Observer's Handbook, whose 2013 claims the time of the peak will come on Jan. 3 at 1300 UTC.
Currently, scientists only have an estimate of just who on Earth will be able to see the meteor shower; according to EarthSky, if the peak comes a few to several hours later than predicted, eastern Asia might see the shower peak before dawn on Jan. 4, rather than on the purported Jan. 3 date. The shower will reportedly be dimmer than previous years, as a waning gibbous moon will accompany 2013's Quadrantid meteors.
If the current projections hold, northwestern North America should have be a prime location to observe the meteors, according to EarthSky.
The best time to try to view the Quandrantid meteor shower is when the radiant is high in the sky, in the dark hour just before the break of dawn. For optimum viewing, observers will have to hope that the shower's narrow peak time lines up with the time when the radiant point resides highest in their sky.
"The radiant point for the Quadrantids is now considered to be at the northern tip of Bootes, near the Big Dipper asterism in our sky, not far from Bootes' brightest star Arcturus," reported EarthSky.
"It is very far north on the sky's dome, which is why Southern Hemisphere observers probably won't see many (if any) Quadrantid meteors. The meteors simply won't make it above the horizon for Southern Hemisphere skywatchers," the site noted.