Mike's Astro Photos
Jan.04 2011

2011 Quadrantids Meteor Shower

by , under Comets & Meteors

The 2011 Quadrantids Meteor Shower peaked this morning at 1:00 a.m.

I took photos last night continuously from about 8:00 PM till dawn and only caught one meteor, but it was a good one.


Quadrantid Meteor - Jan 4th, 2011

Here’s the meteor at full resolution:

Quadrantid Meteor - January 4th, 2010

Quadrantid Meteor - January 4th, 2011

To see the full shot, click here.

The cool thing about it is, the meteor left behind a visible smoke trail that showed up in 20+ consecutive frames after the flash. That’s more than 10 minutes! Its hard for me to say for sure, but I think this may have been a fireball.

Here’s an animated sequence of about 10 frames that shows the smoke trail left by the meteor.

Quadrantid Meteor Animation - Smoke Trail

Quadrantid Meteor Animation - Smoke Trail

This shower will be active until January 10th and with all the fireball activity happening lately, it is worth checking out!

Photo Details
Canon 50d DSLR
25 Seconds @ ISO 800
Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 fish eye lens
Mounted Piggy Back to CGEM

UPDATE: 1/4/2010

As I was driving home today I realized that I would have probably caught this picture on one of my new security cameras. I knew the exact time was 2:43, so when I got home I checked the video log. Sure enough, I just barely caught it at the edge of the screen.

Look in the center top of the video to see the fireball at the 2 second mark. You may need to replay the video a few times to get it.


9 Comments for this entry

  • Daniel Fischer

    Great animation! Though this is not “smoke” but a so-called “persistent train” made of actively radiating gases; details of the chemistry behind that long-studied phenomenon are still not quite clear.

  • Mark

    That smoke trail footage is amazing!

  • Bob Lunsford


    I think that is the finest picture of a Quadrantid I have seen. Almost all of the Quad photographs I have seen are of much fainter meteors. I would agree that it was a fireball perhaps with a peak magnitude near -9.

  • Mike Antonelli

    Nice work Mike! We had intermittant cloud cover here in southwest PA…But I managed to count about thirteen before the clouds took over completely. Very nice shot!

  • Matt Martin

    Great shot! I watched for a short period this morning, however saw none.

  • Pierre Martin


    Nice work! That is definitely a fireball, and I think it is cool that you’ve captured the persistent train too. I was clouded out in Eastern Ontario, so no luck for me this time. Thanks for sharing your results!

  • Katie

    Great video! Always impressive to see a meteor caught on camera…especially in such great quality.

  • Meteor Wayne

    Nice work Mike. Next you know, we’ll have to have a best meteor shot of the year contest. I’m sure you and Pierre will be in the running!

  • Gary

    If everything floating in space is random, how could that have any impact on your personality and life?

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!


All entries, chronologically...