Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2024 January 11
Explanation: Named for a forgotten constellation, the Quadrantid Meteor Shower puts on an annual show for planet Earth's northern hemisphere skygazers. The shower's radiant on the sky lies within the old, astronomically obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis. That location is not far from the Big Dipper asterism, known to some as the Plough, at the boundaries of the modern constellations Bootes and Draco. The Big Dipper "handle" stars are near the upper right corner in this frame, with the meteor shower radiant just below. North star Polaris is toward the top left. Pointing back toward the radiant, Quadrantid meteors streak through the night in this skyscape from Jangsu, South Korea. The composite image was recorded in the hours around the shower's peak on January 4, 2024. A likely source of the dust stream that produces Quadrantid meteors was identified in 2003 as an asteroid.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Ryan Smallcomb Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC,
NASA Science Activation
& Michigan Tech. U.