Quadrantid Meteor Shower: Scenes from a Winter Night

A Quadrantid meteor. Image courtesy Dennis Boon

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower did have to happen on a cold night for many of us. Did you get up to look this morning? Did you do the brave thing and go back to bed?

Dennis Boon of Suffolk, England, says he took the image above at 5 a.m., local time, with his Canon SLR and posted it on his Flickr stream. He reports that he set his camera for a one-minute exposure with an extreme wide-angle lens, so that it took in most of the sky from his back garden. Overnight temperatures in southern England were in the upper 30s and low 40s.

Meteor showers - with apologies to those who saw nothing or froze their fingers - can be hit or miss. One can easily sit for half an hour without seeing a single meteor, or one can get lucky and suddenly see a cluster of shooting stars in quick succession. And the odds of success drop quickly if it's at all hazy or there are city lights nearby.

Didier Schreiner, shooting from the town of Wormhout in northern France, captured a streak in the eastern sky just before dawn. "The wind was rather strong (you can see the blur on the trees) but the sky was clear," he writes on Spaceweather.com "It allowed me to sight shooting stars from the Quadrantids shower for 1 hour before dawn despite the light pollution. This shooting star was the brightest I saw that morning." Here's how it came out; image used with permission:

Meteor seen from Wormhout, France. Copyright Didier Schreiner

Glenn Wester said he took pictures "from the light polluted skies of Smithtown, New York," and came away with the image below. As he explained it, he combined five of the best streaks he caught in a single composite image. Here's the result, used with his permission:

Composite image of Quadrantid meteor shower by Glenn Wester, Smithtown, N.Y.

Please let us know if you were up and had good luck.

"Woot!" wrote a Twitter user named Garrett Frankson. "Most meteors I've seen in a night. One sailed 45-50deg. Hourly rate was pushing 150 at times."

Another man, who said he was on the West Coast, tweeted, "It was ABSOLUTELY worth staying up!!! The words to describe the beauty are simply beyond me."

On the other hand, there was the woman who wrote, "Got up at 3:30am to #meteorwatch and saw two in an hour. If that's a shower I'm never dating an astrologer, ever."