January 7, 2011

QUADRANTIDS METEOR SHOWER OBSERVING REPORT

I had my first Quadrantid observation on the early morning of 4th January. I had been reading about the fertility of this meteor shower. That’s why I wanted to experience this shower. To go for this under the coldest days of the year I convinced Ashwin Vaghela, my observing partner. We left Bhuj for Makanpar-Dhosa village, our regular place for observation, especially meteor shower observation. There is an old Shiv Temple and we stayed on the terrace of the temple. The Kutch Amateur Astronomer’s Club (KAAC) members have been using this place since 1993 for sky observation.

We approached there at about 10:30pm. The temperature was nearly 7 degree Celsius. I carried my 25x100 I.F. Binoculars with mount and tripod stand for early morning comet hunting. The radiant rose at around 1 am. The radiant is located around 44 Bootis star. I rose at 5:52am and started to count meteors. Because of the cold weather and chilling wind I refused to make a note of meteors, their magnitudes etc but I decided to remember the number. I counted 59 meteors till 7 am. The brightest was -1 magnitude and the faintest was 5 magnitudes. I saw 12 meteors coming from other directions, few from the direction of the Big Dipper and few from Leo. Once while I was observing, I saw 4 meteors at once coming from the Quadrantid radiant! It was awesome indeed! It was same like what we see the depiction of a meteor shower in an astronomy websites and magazines.

Overall, it was a good shower for a new year’s celebration! The Quadrantids are a fertile Meteor Shower after The Geminids but I’m sure most of amateur astronomers might be missing it due to cold weather.

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