Quadrantid meteor shower peaks this weekend
Stormy December skies didn’t allow for much visibility during the Geminid meteor shower last month. Fortunately, viewing conditions the first sky show of 2020 look to be more promising.
The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks this weekend during the early morning hours of Saturday, January 4. The moon, in its first quarter phase, will set soon after midnight; the darkness should provide an ideal backdrop to spot “shooting stars.” For the best viewing, choose a spot away from other light sources and give your eyes a chance to adjust once outside.
Although meteors can be seen anywhere across the sky’s expanse, the radiant (point from which meters appear to come from) for the Quadrantids is in the northeastern sky near the handle of the Big Dipper. NASA (solarsystem.nasa.gov) explains that the Quadrantids are named for a now-obsolete constellation called Quadrans Muralis, which is located between the constellations Bootes and Draco. Naming meteor showers after constellations is a way to help nighttime sky gazers know which shower they are viewing; “the constellation is not the source of the meteors.”
Most meteor showers originate from comets. An astronomer and research scientist named Peter Jenniskens realized that asteroid 2003 EH1, discovered in 2003, is the source of the Quadrantid meteors.
Before heading to bed on Friday, I plan to set my alarm, arrange chairs in the backyard, prep hot cocoa in thermoses, and lay out blankets and winter clothing as shields against the cold. Fingers crossed that the weather cooperates and we’ll have a cloudless sky that night.
A meteor shower is a great way to welcome and celebrate the new year. Happy viewing!
Tahoe-Douglas Elks host January dinner events
The Elks host “Cook Your Own Steak Night” the second Friday of each month at the lodge, 1227 Kimmerling Road in the Gardnerville Ranchos. The first steak night of 2020 will be held next Friday, January 10; doors open at 5 p.m.
A donation of $15.00 per person includes rib eye steak, baked potatoes, salad, beans, and dessert.
Reservations must be made by Thursday, January 9 and may be made by calling Jim Schramm at 775-783-4224.
The Elks’ annual all-you-can-eat crab feed will be held Saturday, January 25 at the lodge on Kimmerling Road.
Doors open at 5 p.m. for social hour with dinner to follow at 6 p.m. The feast includes fresh Dungeness crab, shrimp, clam chowder, salad, and garlic bread. Diners are asked to bring their own crab cracking tools and any preferred sauces to complement the meal.
Reservations are required and advance payment of $45 per person must be received by Monday, January 20; no tickets will be sold at the door. Those with prepaid reservations can pick up their tickets at will call the day of the event.
To secure a reservation or for more information, call Jim at 775-267-9205 or Rich at 626-222-6356.
Proceeds from events hosted by the Tahoe/Douglas Elks benefit programs and services for seniors, veterans, and youth in the Carson Valley community.