Jan 2/3 Meteors and the Quadrantids

The Quadrantid meteor shower was most definitely active this morning over southern Arizona. Though the actual peak of Quadrantid activity likely occurred some hours later, both the SALSA3 video system and my own visual observations detected many Quads.

Over the course of 1 hour of observation under a limiting magnitude of 6.0 sky, I detected 29 meteors of which 22 were Quadrantids. Unlike the Geminids of last month, the Quads were relatively faint with no negative magnitude meteors. The video camera doesn’t see as faint as the human eye but makes up for lack in sensitivity by running tirelessly all night long. As a result the camera picked up even more meteors (64 in total with 42 being Quadrantids). If the peak really occurred over Asia as predicted then Quad activity should be good but rapidly falling over Europe and more or less over for the wester hemisphere tonight.

Backward trace plot of meteors detected by the SALSA3 video system from Tucson/Tanque Verde, Arizona on the night of 2014 Jan 3 UT. The Quadrantid radiant is very apparent. Plot created with the MetRec meteor detection software. Credit: Carl Hergenrother.
Backward trace plot of meteors detected by the SALSA3 video system from Tucson/Tanque Verde, Arizona on the night of 2014 Jan 3 UT. The Quadrantid radiant is very apparent. Plot created with the MetRec meteor detection software. Credit: Carl Hergenrother.

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Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT AHY COM DLM JLE QUA
SAL  2014-01-03   12h 39m   64  18  2   0   0   1   1   42
VIS  2014-01-03   01h 00m   29   7                      22 (LM=~6.0)

SAL - SALSA3 camera in Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
VIS - Visual observations from Tucson (Carl Hergenrother)
Time - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
AHY - Alpha Hydrids
COM - Coma Berenicids
DLM - December Leonis Minorids
JLE - January Leonids
QUA - Quadrantids

About Carl Hergenrother
I am a professional astronomer specializing in the study of comets, asteroids and meteors. This blog will focus on my professional and amateur work in this field

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