Earth Science Image of the day

Quadrantid Meteor Shower - January 17, 2020

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Photographer: Constantine Emmanouilidi
Summary Authors: Constantine Emmanouilidi; Jim Foster

Shown above is a composite of the meteors I observed from Rodokipos, Halkidiki, Greece during the Quadrantid meteor shower in the early morning hours of January 4, 2020. Although the cold temperatures (27 F or -3 C) and moonlit skies were certainly a deterrent, because the night was crystal clear I decided to make the effort to get up early to set up my equipment and was certainly glad I did. When I arrived at my observing location, after a one-hour drive, I immediately knew that this would be a very active meteor shower. As usual for me when observing a wintertime meteor shower, I dressed in many warm layers, found a comfortable place to lay down and made sure I had plenty of warm tea. I had my watch with me to measure the zenith hourly rate or ZHR.

I started imaging in earnest at 01:30 UT, finishing as the Sun rose. During the night there were several periods of bursts of activity and longer intervals with very little action. Only the brightest meteors are shown here -- a number of shooting stars were too faint to image with my camera. I took more than 700 images and after eliminating the images with satellite overpasses, a tedious task, I measured a maximum ZHR of 125 meteors at approximately 03:40 UT. Notice that these meteors appear to be coming from a specific area of the sky; this is the radiant. For the Quadrantids, the radiant is in the northern portion of the constellation of Boötes.

 EPOD is a service of NASA's Earth Science Division and the EOS Project Science Office (at Goddard Space Flight Center)
and the Universities Space Research Association.

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