Night of the Quadrantids

January 11, 2022  The first post of the New Year is about a meteor shower, the Quadrantids. They may not be as popular as the Perseids or the Geminids, but they can produce meteors that are just as stunning, and at times more prolific. The peak lasts only a few hours, and it occurs in January, are the two main reasons it remains less popular. The IMO (International Meteor Organization) was predicting them to peak in Japan around 5:30 am on the 4th. As clear skies were predicted for that night in most parts of Kyushu, I decided to go to a place just east of Aso Kuju National Park, with Bortle class 2 to 3 skies. I arrived there at sunset, and set up the camera right away. It continued taking pictures through the night, until early dawn. When you watch the time lapse created from the photos, you may notice a slight brightening in the upper left side of the frame. This was caused by the Zodiacal Light. (The zodiacal light is a faint, diffuse, and roughly triangular white glow that is visible in the night sky and appears to extend from the Sun’s direction and along the zodiac, straddling the ecliptic. Sunlight scattered by interplanetary dust causes this phenomenon.) Taken at Mt. Ogi observation deck at an elevation of 830 meters, it proved to be a rather cold night, with the temperature going down to -4 degrees, so I was very thankful to have Little Betsy (my faithful car) there to keep me warm.