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Fwd = Quadrantid meteors promise fireworks this week

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/space/01/01/quadrantid.preview/index.html Original Date: 3 Jan 2001 00:48:22 -0000
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2001
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      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      URL: http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/space/01/01/quadrantid.preview/index.html
      Original Date: 3 Jan 2001 00:48:22 -0000

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      Quadrantid meteors promise fireworks this week

      image
      Quadrantid meteors observed in 1995 by members of the International
      Meteor Organization

      (CNN) -- Those willing to venture out into predawn chill this
      Wednesday will get a chance to observe one of the most intense yet
      least-observed of annual meteor showers.

      The Quadrantids officially began December 28, but should reach a sharp
      maximum on January 4 between midnight and 7 a.m. EST, with as many as
      200 shooting stars visible per hour.

      The first-quarter moon should pose no interference. It sets shortly
      after midnight, leaving the skies fully dark from then on, according
      to Sky and Telescope magazine.


      Viewing tips:
      o The radiant, or visual center, of the Quadrantid shower rises
      around midnight local time at mid-latitudes in the Northern
      Hemisphere. To find the radiant at, say, 4 a.m., go outside and face
      north. The radiant will appear about 40 degrees eastward of the north
      star, Polaris.
      o The naked eye is usually best for seeing meteors, which often
      streak more than 45 degrees across the sky.
      o Dress warmly and bring a reclining chair, or spread a thick
      blanket over a flat spot of ground.
      o Lie down and look up somewhat toward the north.

      Source: NASA

      Meteor showers occur when then the Earth passes through streams of
      solid particles, dust size and larger, moving as a group through
      space. The particles leave brilliant trails, sometimes called shooting
      stars, as they burn up in the atmosphere.

      The Quadrantids are also among the least observed of the annual meteor
      showers, in part because of the weather, according to NASA. The
      shower's radiant is located high in the northern sky, so the
      Quadrantids are visible mainly to observers in the Northern
      Hemisphere, where the weather is cold and often stormy in January.

      Plus the shower's peak is relatively brief, usually lasting only a few
      hours.

      With observations in short supply, many basic questions about the
      Quadrantids remain unanswered. For example, the source of the
      Quadrantid meteors is unknown.

      The shower takes its name from an obsolete constellation called
      Quadrans Muralis found in early 19th-century star atlases between
      Draco, Hercules, and Bootes.
      _________________________________________________________________

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