On Space.com, Joe Rao talks about comet Tuttle’s return, and reminds us that comet Holmes (see here and here) is still worth a look. In fact, he gives a little bit of history of Tuttle, which is worth a read.
He also tells us, in another story, about the Quadrantid meteor shower. The what? I hear you cry. Well:
The meteors are named after the obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis, the Mural or Wall Quadrant (an astronomical instrument), depicted in some 19th-century star atlases roughly midway between the end of the Handle of the Big Dipper and the quadrilateral of stars marking the head of the constellation Draco. (The International Astronomical Union phased out Quadrans Muralis in 1922.)
(Cartoon shaking of fist… “Curse you, IAU!!!”) (Er…. remember Pluto.)
This is not the most well known of meteor showers, but this year it was set to have quite a dramatic peak – two per minute, perhaps. Unfortunately, that was early this morning (I’d not seen this until today). It is possible that there might be still some good viewing tonight though (unless the impact region is remarkably narrow – which is certainly possible), so go and have a look if you’ve got a lovely clear Winter sky and happen to be up. It’ll be early in the morning, but maybe worth it.
According to the International Meteor Organization, maximum activity this year is expected on Friday 1:40 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
For those in the eastern United States, the radiant will be about one-quarter of the way up in the east-northeast sky. The farther to the north and east you go, the higher in the sky the radiant will be. To the south and west the radiant will be lower and the meteors will be fewer.
From Western Europe, the radiant will soar high in the east as the peak arrives just as morning twilight intervenes.
(Cross posted to Correlations.)