Quadrantid Meteor Shower

The Quadrantid meteor shower occurs in January every year. The radiant of the shower lies in the Bootes constellation.

Cause of meteor showers

The meteor showers are caused due to debris or trail of dust left by a comet. When the earth moves through the left-over dust particles, they catch fire. How do they fire up? Earth revolves around the sun at a speed of 1,00,000 km/sec! When the dust particles encounter such huge speeds, large amounts of frictional forces are generated. These frictional forces produce the heat energy and fire the particles. Just like a match stick! Match stick is the earth and match box is the particle (not considering the weight).

Not as bright as Geminids and Perseids – Why?

The Geminids meteor shower occurs in December. The Perseids meteor shower occurs in August. The Quadrantid meteor shower is not as bright as the Geminids and Perseids. This is because the duration of peak occurrence is comparatively less. It lasts only for hours. Also, the meteors are faint. Their magnitudes are between 3 and 6. The magnitude of meteor storm is around 1000. Meteor storms occur during Perseids and Geminids. But is rare during Quadrantid.

Why are Quadrantid meteor showers shorter?

The meteor shower is short because of its thin stream of particles. More the number of particles, heavier and longer the shower. Also, earth crosses the particles at right angles. This generates less frictional force against the particles. Thus there is no enough heat energy generated to fire the particles for longer time.

Radiant point: Bootes constellation

The radiant point is the celestial point from where the meteors originate. Bootes constellation is located in the northern sky. It has the fourth brightest star known to humans, orange giant Arcturus.

Comet associated with Quadrantid meteor shower

C/1490Y1. It was first observed by the Chinese and Japanese 500 years ago.




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