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January 2, 2011

Quadrantids meteor shower and partial eclipse due

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by Brian Turner

Stargazers across the UK could be in for a treat over the next few days, as the Quadrantids meteor shower takes place alongside a partial eclipse of the sun.

The partial eclipse will occur with the top left corner of the sun blocked by the moon at dawn, and will peak on January 4th.

The Quadrantids are a regular meteor shower that occurs around the first week each January.

While not the biggest and brightest, the Quadrantids are certainly above average and - if the sky remains clear - could provide an average of around 40 meteors per hour.

These will originate from the north and north east, around the familiar Plough constellation.

It was only two weeks ago some may have been lucky enough to observe the full eclipse of the moon just after the Winter Solstice.

However, snow and cloud that covered much of the UK is likely to have reduced visibility for many people.

Now the skies are clearer, there remains a chance of a more propitious start to observing the heavens.

Incidentally, earth’s natural orbit around the sun will be at its closest annual point on January 4th as well.

Story link: Quadrantids meteor shower and partial eclipse due

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  1. “The partial eclipse is already visible at present”

    This just seems wrong, it the 2 Jan 2011.. the partial eclipse lasts for a few hours at most..

    Can you explain to me how the moon can obscure the sun for several days?

    Comment by Antony Mulcahy — January 2, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

  2. You’re right - my apologies for the error - problem occurs when writing with the flu and getting tenses mixed up from tiredness. Now revised the offending sentence. :)

    Comment by Brian Turner — January 2, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

  3. As these Astronomical visible events occur at night time, could you please give the dates as 4/5 Jan etc as this then gives a precise period of time.
    The 4th could mean the evening/night of the 4th or early morning after midnight of the 3rd.
    This always caused problems and questions when secretary of my local astronomical society

    Comment by Malcolm Jones — January 3, 2011 @ 12:13 am

  4. When is the best time to view these from Wales? I’ve just moved here from the States and loved to check out the night sky events whenever possible - i’m just not sure where is the best to view the from and when is the best time. Thanks!

    Comment by Scott — January 3, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  5. You’re higher latitude than Edmonton in Wales. Best time to view anything is the fortnight at the end of July called ‘summer’..

    Comment by 53north — January 4, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

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