On the following night, I went out again for the Quadrantids. The timing for the maximum activity was not well positioned for North America this year (predicted during the late afternoon hours with a low radiant). Nonetheless, I saw this as an opportunity to hunt for earthgrazers. The weather was marginal but the Lennox & Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area (about 170 km south-west of Ottawa) seemed more or less favourable. I decided to take a chance and head out in the mid afternoon, for an early observing start.
Once at the site, I quickly setup and started observing just after 6:00pm (local time) in deep twilight. The temperature was milder than the previous night at -12C (10F) but with a -22C windchill. The sky transparency was good at the beginning, but the traffic on nearby highway 41 caused a lot of flashes of lights in my eyes. I moved my chair in a different position and that helped.
My first QUA was seen 12 minutes into the session; a 45 degrees long earthgrazer that travelled from Draco to Cepheus, and flared in and out three times! Four more earthgrazers were seen during the first hour. The radiant was less than 10 degrees high in the NNW. The brightest meteor of that hour was actually a -1 yellow-orange anthelion that travelled 40 degrees!
During the second hour, I saw 10 QUAs, and nearly all of them were earthgrazers! The most impressive was a 70 degrees long QUA at 8:09pm (local time) seen going from Ursa Major all the way to Orion! It wasn’t the brightest meteor at +3 but the path length made it very impressive. Just 30 seconds later, another QUA earthgrazer appeared, this time a +5 that shot 30 degrees! Seeing all these earthgrazers was impressive considering that the radiant was at its lowest point in the sky, near the northern horizon (less than 5 degrees high). Surely, the QUAs must have still been somewhere near full tilt at that time.
Unfortunately, my session was cut short just after 9pm (local time) when a wall of clouds/haze quickly rose up from the west and obscured the entire sky. I checked the weather satellite map and it didn’t look good. There was more clouds than expected coming. I decided to pack it in and go to sleep in the car. I was a long way from home, and not too keen on driving back home fatigued at night.
I woke up just after 4am (local time), and immediately noticed the sky overhead was quite clear! I decided to head back out and attempt another sign-on. The sky was now very different with the QUA radiant situated almost overhead. I was curious to see what the QUAs would be up to, now several hours past the expected maximum. Not surprisingly, the QUAs rates were very low with only 6 meteors seen in a little over one hour. The brightest meteor was actually a sporadic that reached -3 seen shortly after I signed-on. At 5:31am (local time), the sky clouded over again and I sign-off.
In all, I saw 39 meteors (including 20 Quadrantids, 2 December Leonis Minorids, 2 December chi Virginids, one anthelion, one January Leonid, one December sigma Virginid and 12 sporadics).
January 3/4 2022, 23:05-10:31 UT (18:05-05:31 EST)
Location: L&A County Public Dark Site, Ontario, Canada
(Long: -77.116 West; Lat: 44.559 North)
IMO session: https://www.imo.net/members/imo_vmdb/view?session_id=84004
Anthelions (ANT) – 07:32 (113) +22
alpha Hydrids (AHY) – 08:24 (126) -08
Omicron Leonids (OLE) – 08:44 (131) +11
sigma Hydrids (HYD) – 09:45 (146) -04
January Leonids (JLE) – 09:50 (148) +24
theta Pyxidids (TPY) – 11:19 (170) -28`
December Leonis Minorids (DLM) – 11:35 (174) +25
December chi Virginids (XVI) – 13:18 (199) -15
December sigma Virginids (DSV) – 14:28 (217) +02
Quadrantids (QUA) – 15:16 (229) +50
23:05-00:15 UT (18:05-19:15 EST); 3/5 trans; F 1.00; LM 6.38; facing N55 deg; teff 1.17 hr
QUA: four: +3(2); +4(2)
ANT: one: -1
Sporadics: four: +2; +5(3)
Total meteors: Nine
00:39-02:03 UT (19:39-21:03 EST); 3/5 trans; F 1.03; LM 6.47; facing N55 deg; teff 1.20 hr
QUA: ten: 0(2); +2; +3; +4(2); +5(4)
Sporadics: two: +2; +3
Total meteors: Twelve
09:15-10:31 UT (04:15-05:31 EST); 3/5 trans; F 1.04; LM 6.55; facing N55 deg; teff 1.26 hr
QUA: six: 0; +1; +2(3); +5
DLM: two: +3; +4
XVI: two: +5(2)
JLE: one: +2
DSV: one: +3
Sporadics: six: -3; +4; +5(3); +6
Total meteors: Eighteen
Total meteors for this session: 39