By Rashid Shirinov
Last year, the annual major meteor showers were washed out by moonlight, but 2017 is looking to be a spectacular year for meteor showers.
Of the big three, the Quadrantids in January and Geminids in December are both visible in dark, moonless skies. Sadly, the Perseids in August will again be badly obscured by a waning gibbous Moon, but they are always worth watching.
The Quadrantids, which started on December 28, 2016, will continue until January 12, and it is possible to observe it from Azerbaijan.
Quadrantid meteors can be seen throughout the hours of darkness. The best viewing is after midnight, local time, as the radiant climbs high into the morning sky, said Khidir Mikayilov, the deputy director on Scientific Research at the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS).
“This process can be observed with the naked eye in the morning – at 3-5 a.m. The meteor shower is so fast that it is impossible to watch it through a telescope. The best way is to look up lying on back,” Mikayilov told Trend.
He told Trend that the period of the maximum activity of this meteor shower was observed in the sky on the night of January 4.
The deputy director added that meteor showers pose no threat neither for the Earth, nor for the human health. “Because meteors fully burn in the atmosphere and turn into dust. As for meteorites, they can present danger, and damage something when they reach Earth.”
“So far, about 3000 meteorites were found on Earth,” the deputy director said.