The Quadrantids (QUA) are a meteor shower that peaks in early January and whose radiant lies in the constellation Boötes. The zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) of this shower can be as high as that of two other reliably rich meteor showers, the Perseids in August and the Geminids in December,[4] yet Quadrantid meteors are not seen as often as those of the two other showers because the time frame of the peak is exceedingly narrow, sometimes lasting only hours. Moreover, the meteors are quite faint, with mean apparent magnitudes between 3.0 and 6.0.

Quadrantids (QUA)
Discovery date1820s[1]
Parent body2003 EH1
Right ascension15h 28m [2]
Occurs duringDecember 28 – January 12[2]
Date of peakJanuary 3[2]
Velocity41[3] km/s
Zenithal hourly rate120 [4]
See also: List of meteor showers

Observations and associationsEdit

The meteor rates exceed one-half of their highest value for only about eight hours (compared to two days for the August Perseids), which means that the stream of particles that produces this shower is narrow, and apparently deriving within the last 500 years from some orbiting body.[5] The parent body of the Quadrantids was tentatively identified in 2003 by Peter Jenniskens[6] as the minor planet 2003 EH1, which in turn may be related to the comet C/1490 Y1[7] that was observed by Chinese, Japanese and Korean astronomers some 500 years ago.

Radiant point of Quadrantid meteor shower, active each year in early January

The radiant point of this shower is at the northern edge of the constellation Boötes, not far from the Big Dipper. It lies between the end of the handle of the Big Dipper and the quadrilateral of stars marking the head of the constellation Draco.[5] This meteor shower is best seen in the northern hemisphere, but it can be seen partly to 50 degrees south latitude.[8]

The name comes from Quadrans Muralis, a former constellation created in 1795 by the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that included portions of Boötes and Draco. In early January 1825, Antonio Brucalassi in Italy reported that “the atmosphere was traversed by a multitude of the luminous bodies known by the name of falling stars.”[1] They appeared to radiate from Quadrans Muralis. In 1839, Adolphe Quetelet of Brussels Observatory in Belgium and Edward C. Herrick in Connecticut independently made the suggestion that the Quadrantids are an annual shower.[9]

In 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) devised a list of 88 modern constellations. The list was agreed upon by the IAU at its inaugural general assembly held in Rome in May 1922.[10] It did not include a constellation Quadrans Muralis. The IAU officially adopted this list in 1930,[11] but this meteor shower still retains the name Quadrantids, for the original and now-obsolete constellation.

Year Quadrantids active during Peak of shower ZHRmax
2008 Jan. 1–5 Jan. 4 82[12]
2009 Jan. 1–5 Jan. 3 146[13]
2010 Waning gibbous Moon[14] (full Moon on Dec. 31)[15]
2011 Dec. 28 – Jan. 12 Jan. 3 90[16]
2012 Dec. 28 – Jan. 12 Jan. 4 83[17]
2013 Jan. 3 Waning gibbous Moon (full Moon on Dec. 28)[18] 137[19][20]
2014 Jan. 4 Main peak with ZHRmax=245 between Jan. 3 17:00 UT and 22:30 UT; isolated brief spike of ZHRmax=315 Jan. 4 at 18:00 UT 315[21]
2015 Waxing gibbous Moon (full Moon on Jan. 5)[22]
2016 Jan. 3 at 14 UT [23] (15 CET/9 EST)
2017 Jan. 3 at 15 UT [24] (16 CET/10 EST)
2018 Jan. 3 at 19 UT [25] (20 CET/14 EST)
2019 Jan. 4 at 2 UT [26] (21 EST on Jan. 3)
2020 Jan. 4 at 4 UT [27] (23 EST on Jan. 3)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Quadrantids". Archived from the original on 2013-01-06. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  2. ^ a b c d Moore, Patrick; Rees, Robin (2011), Patrick Moore's Data Book of Astronomy (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 275, ISBN 978-0521899352.
  3. ^ Millman, Peter M.; McKinley, D. W. R. (December 1953), "The Quadrantid Meteor Shower", Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, 47: 237, Bibcode:1953JRASC..47..237M.
  4. ^ a b "Does the published meteor rate for a shower really represent what I should expect to see?". American Meteor Society. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  5. ^ a b "Stellar Meteor Shower Jan. 3". 19 December 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
  6. ^ Peter Jenniskens (Dec 8, 2003). "2003 EH1 is the Quadrantid shower parent comet". The Ephemeris (San Jose Astronomical Association newsletter). Retrieved 2004-12-17.
  7. ^ Jenniskens, Peter (2004). "2003 EH1 Is the Quadrantid Shower Parent Comet". The Astronomical Journal. 127 (5): 3018–3022. Bibcode:2004AJ....127.3018J. doi:10.1086/383213.
  8. ^ "Quadrantid meteor shower". NASA Meteor Watch on Facebook. 2012-12-26. Archived from the original on 2022-02-26. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  9. ^ "Everything you need to know: Quadrantid meteor shower". EarthSky. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  10. ^ "The IAU list of the 88 constellations and their abbreviations". Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  11. ^ "IAU and the 88 Constellations". Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  12. ^ Quadrantids 2008: visual data quicklook Archived 2013-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Quadrantids 2009: visual data quicklook Archived 2013-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ IMO Meteor Shower Calendar 2010: January to March
  15. ^ "U.S. Naval Observatory Phases of the Moon 2009". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  16. ^ Quadrantids 2011: visual data quicklook
  17. ^ Quadrantids 2012: visual data quicklook Archived 2012-12-25 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "U.S. Naval Observatory Phases of the Moon 2012". Archived from the original on 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  19. ^ Quadrantids 2013: visual data quicklook Archived 2013-12-24 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ 2013 Quadrantid Shower Archived 2015-11-17 at the Wayback Machine (Chris L Peterson @ Cloudbait Observatory)
  21. ^ Quadrantids 2014: visual data quicklook Archived 2015-11-17 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Moon Phase on January 4, 2015". Moongiant.
  23. ^ "IMO Meteor Shower Calendar" (PDF). International Meteor Organization.
  24. ^ "Quadrantid meteors on January 3 or 4". 2 January 2020.
  25. ^ "When and Where to See the Quadrantids in 2018".
  26. ^ McClure, Bruce. "Dark Skies for 2019 Quadrantid meteors". Earthsky. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  27. ^ "QUADRANTIDS METEOR SHOWER 2020". Bashewa. Bronberg Weather Station. Retrieved 2019-12-30.

External linksEdit