Archive for January 3rd, 2012
The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks in the early morning hours of January 4 (the previous evening being January 3) and should be an excellent display this year for the eastern United States. The Quadrantid meteor shower is often cited as the third best meteor shower - coming in behind the Perseids in August and the Geminids in December. I mentioned the Leonids back in November and the Geminids in December and both showers had a bright Moon interfering with them. In the eastern US, the waxing gibbous Moon should set around 3:00 AM leaving a window of viewing opportunity until dawn. The meteors will appear to originate from a point above the east-northeast horizon. Normally, one might not even consider going outside in the early morning hours in January but, in northeast Iowa the forecast is for a low of 23 degrees F. While this sounds cold, it is well above our average for this time of year.
The best International Space Station (ISS) viewing opportunity for northeast Iowa in the next couple weeks occurs tonight, January 3, at 5:47 PM. The ISS will arrive in view low above the west, northwest horizon and will depart from view low above the southeast horizon. Note that this trajectory takes it essentially across the sky and it will be visible for 6 minutes. Because it is very bright and moving quickly, it is difficult to miss if you are looking in the correct general vicinity at the right time. The direction and time information given is for the general area around Waterloo, IA. For viewing opportunities at your location or for additional viewing opportunities be sure to visit the following link and enter the pertinent information for your location: