The International Meteor Organization (IMO) was founded in 1988 and has more than 250 members now. IMO was created in response to an ever growing need for international cooperation of meteor amateur work. The collection of meteor observations by several methods from all around the world ensures the comprehensive study of meteor showers and their relation to comets and interplanetary dust.
You can read about the history, current aims and commissions of IMO. An additional page informs you about how to become a member the International Meteor Organization. Membership includes a subscription to WGN, the journal of the IMO.
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The February 2014 issue of the IMO Journal is now in print. It will be mailed shortly and subscribers can also immediately access the journal in PDF format. The contents this month:
Front cover photo: Taurid fireball photographed on 2013 September 14 from Tenerife. Photo courtesy: Jürgen Rendtel.
The December 2013 issue of the IMO Journal is now in print. It will be mailed shortly and subscribers can also immediately access the journal in PDF format. The contents this month:
Front cover photo: Bright fireball captured by the EN95 station on 2013 October 30. Photo courtesy: Jos Nijland.
On the 3rd of January near 19h30m UT, the Quadrantids peak to provide one of the best annual meteoric displays of the year. The activity graph below is updated every 15 minutes - click for details.
The Quadrantids are one of the finest annual meteor showers. They are caused by fragments of a comet that broke up in the recent past. Every year in the final days of December and the first two weeks of January the Earth crosses the stream of debris from the fragmented comet. The dust particles (meteoroids) hit our atmosphere at 41 km/s, burning up in the light phenomenon we know as meteors. Every meteor shower gets its name from the constellation in which the radiant, the point in the sky from which the meteors apparently come from, is located. Thus the Perseids have their radiant in the constellation of Perseus and the Leonids in Leo. The name Quadrantids comes from the now defunct 18th century constellation Quadrans Muralis, located between Bootes, Hercules and Draco. The Quadrantids are a very strong meteor shower. The zenithal hourly rate at maximum reaches 120 per hour. Under a dark sky with the radiant high in the sky, one can expect one to two meteors per minute. The peak of the shower is fairly sharp, as the densest region of the meteor stream is comparatively narrow. This year the peak occurs on January 3rd around 19h30m UT. Good rates with several tens of meteors per hour can be seen for about 12 hours on either side of the peak.
Position of the Quadrantid radiant as listed in the IMO meteor shower calendar.
The Quadrantids are best seen from the Northern hemisphere, due to the radiant's position far on the northern celestial hemisphere. Some Quadrantids may also be seen from the tropics south of the equator, but the numbers will be low. In the Northern hemisphere observers have to contend with often poor winter weather, however, any clear winter nights also offer some of the darkest and most transparent skies of the year.
The Quadrantid radiant is low in the northwest in the evening hours, sets or is at it's lowest* around local midnight. It rises further up in the northeastern sky in the morning hours, reaching its highest elevation just before dawn. The morning hours are thus the best time to observe the Quadrantids. (*The Quadrantid radiant is circumpolar north of 49 deg N, i.e. it never sets below the horizon.)
A very bright Quadrantid captured on video by Javor Kac on 4 January 2013.
To observe the Quadrantids, you need to dress warm, bring a reclining chair and watch the sky. You need no other equipment. Also consider contributing observational data!
If you decide to do so, use the IMO major meteor shower observing technique. This way your data will be in a standard format, that can readily be used for analysis. Send us your data as soon after the observations as posssible.
The October 2013 issue of the IMO Journal is now in print. It will be mailed shortly and subscribers can also immediately access the journal in PDF format. The contents this month:
Front cover photo: Northern Taurid fireball from Switzerland on 2012 November 17. Photo courtesy: Jonas Schenker.
The August 2013 issue of the IMO Journal is now in print. It will be mailed shortly and subscribers can also immediately access the journal in PDF format. The contents this month:
Front cover photo: Bright fireball with aurora on 2013 March 30. Photo courtesy: Shannon Bileski.