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Tonight the first shower of “shooting stars” of 2023


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The victorious Tetartides peak tonight in Greece as well

The new astronomical year begins, as every year, with a shower of passing stars, the Quadrantids, which this year will peak in Greece and the rest of the northern hemisphere this evening.

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This year’s Quarters but they may be “overshadowed” by the fact that in a few days, on the evening of Friday 6 January, there will be a full moon – the first of 2023 – with the result that the sky will be quite bright and therefore only the brightest meteors will be possible to observe .

The Quaternaries, which usually last from January 1st to 5th, peaking in the interim, they are best seen at more northerly latitudes. At their peak, up to 40 meteors per hour enter Earth’s atmosphere at over 40 kilometers per second, and up to 120 meteors have been reported in some years. It is a better-than-average meteor shower, although it is less well-known than others such as the Leonids, Orionids and Didymides, as its meteors are fainter, but often light up the sky with unusual giant “tails”.

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This particular shower of “shooting stars” is named after a faint constellation (Quadrans Muralis – it was an ancient astronomical tool before the invention of the telescope) discovered by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795, but does not exist any longer. Today the source of the meteors appears to be the constellation Bootis, into which the Epitychios Tetra was incorporated in 1922, when the International Astronomical Union identified the 88 constellations that exist today.

Astronomers aren’t yet sure what the passing comet was, which left behind a trail of dust and particles that turn into meteors every time Earth crosses their orbit. It is likely to be the asteroid 2003 EH1, about three kilometers in diameter, which is a remnant of a former comet, C/1490 Y1. The asteroid in question was officially discovered in 2003, but the parent comet was first observed by Chinese, Japanese and Korean astronomers as early as the 15th century. The first observations of the passing Quaternions in Europe were made by the Brussels Observatory in 1825.

The next major rain of pests will be the Lyrids that will peak on the two days of April 22 and 23.


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