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First look at 2017 Quadrantids


Quadrantid meteor shower

January meteor shower Quadrantids (QUA) peaks January 3rd and can produce quite a few meteors. Hourly rate can reach up to 120 meteors but that is quite rare and the peak can last just a few hours.

Peter Jenniskens proposed in 2003 that parent body of Quadrantids meteor shower could be 2003EH1 which is likely to be an extinct come and could be related to the comet C/1490 Y1.

Amateur astronomers have been monitoring this shower with great interest and this is where citizen science and collaboration is incredibly important. With an unpredictable and very short peak time it is most important to monitor the shower for as long as possible. UKMON is placed as the last observing post in that timeline.

The exact peak was predicted for morning of January 3 and weather was fairly favourable and our cameras recorded 337 Quadrantid meteors (paired).

Quadrantid meteors ground map

Quadrantid meteors orbit

Using series of our R scripts let’s have a look at the data in more detail.

337 Quadrantid meteors recorded by UKMON stations

Because we are looking at only partial data set, from a few cameras, most of observations are matched by 2 cameras. We expect to have more matches as we gather data from other cameras.

Matched Observations of Quadrantid meteors

But even from such a small data set we can start mapping stream activity and look at the shower peak.

Matched Observations of Quadrantid meteors

Velocity distribution and magnitudes are as expected:

2017 Quadrantid meteor shower velocity distribution

2017 Quadrantid meteor shower meteor magnitudes

The following graph shows the relationship between start and end heights of the observed Quadrantids meteors and their absolute magnitudes.

2017 Quadrantid absolute magnitudes and H1/H2

The altitudes at which ablation was visible is shown in the plot below.

2017 Quadrantid ablation zones

The maximum start heigh was 106.3 km and the minimum end height was 66.3 km. The distribution of distances travelled through the ablation zone was as follows:

Quadrantid meteor shower observed trajectory

Shower radiant movement and meteor shower in RA, DEC and Solar Long.:

Quadrantid meteor shower radiant

Quadrantid meteor shower observed trajectory


Image Credit: American Meteor Society