The quadrangular meteor shower is the first major meteor shower of 2021. Unfortunately, a bright weak gibbous moon will illuminate the sky at the expected peak night from late January 2 to January 3, although a quarter of the black sky is known to produce some 50-100 meteors, their peaks being very narrow, time wise. The peaks of Persid or Geminid meteor showers last for one or more days, allowing all time zones around the world to enjoy the good performance of Persidas or Geminids. But the peak of the quarter lasts only a few hours. To experience the top of the quadrangle you have to be on the right side of the earth – preferably with a radiant height in your sky. What’s more, the fountain favors the Northern Hemisphere because it does Cheerful point Far north on the dome of the sky.
So you need some luck to see the quarter, and living in the Northern Hemisphere helps. Who will see the fountain of 2021? Keep in mind that a quarter peak forecast represents an educated guess, not an Ironclad guarantee. The quartet is capable of producing some bright fireballs, so you can catch a few meteors despite the moonlight.
That said, in 2021 the International Meteorological Organization peaks on January 3 at 14:30 UTC. If that top forecast is true, Western North America has a good shot at seeing the shower in its best during the hours ending on January 3rd.
Just know that meteor showers are notorious for discrediting the best predictions. For a quarter of this way – like any meteor shower – your best plan is to just look at yourself.
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Any location on mid-northern and far-northern latitudes may be in perfect position to see the quadrangle in 2021, but the bright moon is sure to infiltrate this year’s show.
Everything else can be the same, for any meteor shower, you are most likely to see a meteor when the sky is cheerful high.
In the case of a quarter shower, the sky is most visible in the dark hours before sunrise.
Where is the bright point of the quarter?
The cheerful point of the quadrangle fountain forms an approximately right angle with a large dipper and a bright star arctus. If you traverse the paths of quadrangular meteors, they appear to revolve from this point in the starry sky.
Now for our general warning. You don’t have to find a meteor shower to see quadrangular meteors.
You only have to stay up early in the morning at mid-north or far-north latitudes, and hopefully the peak will arrive in your part of the world at the right time.
Meteors will spread from the northern sky, but Appears in all parts of the sky.
The quarter is named for a constellation that no longer exists. Most meteor showers are named for the constellations from which they appear to spread. So it is with the quarter. But the quadrilateral constellation no longer exists, except for memory. The name Quadrantids comes from the constellation Quadrans Muralis (Mural Quadrant), formed in 1795 by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande. Where did he go
To understand the history of the name of the quarter, we have to go back to the initial observations of these fountains. In early January 1825, Antonio Broccalasi of Italy reported:
… The atmosphere was passed by a crowd of famous bright bodies by the name of falling stars.
They appeared to be radiating from Quadrans Muralis. In 1839, ol Dolph Qulett of the Brussels Observatory in Belgium and Edward C. Herrick of Connecticut independently suggested that quadrantids are an annual bath.
But in 1922 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) compiled a list of 88 modern constellations. The list was agreed by the IAU at its inaugural general meeting in Rome in May 1922. No Includes constellation Quadrans Muralis.
Today, this meteor shower retains the quarter name, for the original and now obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis.
The cheerful point for the Quadrantids is now considered to be in the northern part of Boets, close to Big Dipper Asterism in our skies, not far from the bright star Arctus of Boates. It is very northern to the dome of the sky, which is why Southern Hemisphere observers will probably not see many (if any) quadrangular meteors. Most meteors will not make it above the horizon for the Southern Hemisphere sky. But some probably!
Quadrilateral meteors have a mysterious parent object. In 2003, astronomer Peter Janiskens temporarily identified the quarter’s parent body as the asteroid 2003 EH1. If indeed this body is the parent of the quadrilateral, then the quadrant, like the Gemini meteors, comes from a rocky body – not an icy comet. Fantastic.
In turn, however, the 2003 EH1 may be the same object as comet C / 1490 Y1, which was observed 500 years ago by Chinese, Japanese and Korean astronomers.
So the exact story behind the parent object budget of the quarter has been somewhat unbelievable.
Bottom line: The first major meteor shower of 2021, and every year, a quarter of the meteor shower will probably be excellent between January 2 and 3 p.m. Unfortunately, in 2021, the bright missing Gibbous moon is not the black sky. During the best hours of this year’s annual quarter meteor shower.