The Quadrantid Meteors


MR. JOHN R. HENRY, according to his letters in NATURE of January 2 and 23, unfortunately looked out too late for the Quadrantids, owing to having miscalculated the time of maximum, the approximate probable time of which might also have been obtained from the British Astronomical Association. He is right in saying that the date of the shower is advancing into the year, but the advance is slower than he thinks. Taking the data he gives, which, however, are only very rough, and also a consideration of the sun's longitude as given in the “Nautical Almanac,” there is an advance of only five hours in the thirty-seven years 1825 to 1862. It would appear that in the forty years from then a further advance of probably about eight hours has taken place. It is unfortunate that Prof. A. S. Herschel has not published the exact number of meteors he saw from hour to hour on January 2, 1900, when he watched from 11h. to 16h. 30m. He, however, states that the frequency continued about the same during the whole period, and seeing the radiant point was rising all that period, this would mean that the maximum was near the beginning of his watch.

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BACKHOUSE, T. The Quadrantid Meteors. Nature 65, 439 (1902).

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