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Tomorrow the Quadrantids, the first meteor shower of 2024 – El Nacional – will arrive

Tomorrow the Quadrantids, the first meteor shower of 2024 – El Nacional – will arrive

Madrid.- Tomorrow, Wednesday evening, when darkness falls, will be the optimal time to observe the first meteor shower of 2024 – the Quadrantids, which can reach an activity rate exceeding 120 passing meteors per hour and a speed of 41 kilometers per second. , according to the National Astronomical Observatory (OAN) of Spain.

Quartets It is one of the most active showers of the year along with the Perseids in August and the Geminid meteors in December, although its meteors are not seen as often as other meteor showers, because its period of maximum activity usually lasts only a few days. Hours and bad weather conditions typical of northern winter.

Although its maximum activity will be in the early hours of tomorrow, Wednesday until Thursday, this meteor shower occurs in the period between December 28 and January 12.

Its origin
This meteor shower is due to the fact that Earth is passing through a ring populated by fragments supposedly separated from asteroid 2003 EH1, which when they come into contact with Earth's atmosphere burn up, creating those luminous flares known as fires. Stars, which in this case correspond to tetrads.

Meteor showers appear to have a single center of origin called the radiant, a point from which all meteors emerge and whose location is often used to name meteor showers.

The place where the tetrads appear to have come from is north of the Boyero constellation, near the tail of the Big Dipper.

The name Quadrans comes from the constellation Quadrans Muralis, which was named by French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795, but is not currently recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Where do we see them?
For observers at peninsular latitudes, 40°N, the Quadrant radiant is above the horizon from dusk to dawn.

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The viewing location can be anywhere as long as it offers a dark sky, with few obstructions to the view (such as buildings, trees, or mountains).

Although tetrads can come from the constellation Potes and can be seen anywhere in the sky, it is recommended to direct your gaze towards the darkest areas, in the direction opposite to the Moon's position if observing when present. .

Astronomers recommend that the most comfortable thing is to wear warm clothes, lie down and wait until your eyes get used to the darkness so that you can see it.

OAN understands that observing this meteor will be difficult due to two factors, apart from possible adverse weather conditions, on the one hand, the fact that maximum activity will occur around 10 am (09.00 GMT). On the fourth day they will be covered by morning twilight.

On the other hand, the moon will be in its last quarter specifically on the fourth of this month, so it will be high in the sky in the hours close to sunrise, so its light may make it difficult to observe the weaker meteors.