Japan

Western Japan enjoys sparkling views of Quadrantid meteor shower

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mainichi– The Quadrantid meteor shower, one of the three major meteor showers, reached peak viewing from Japan in the early hours of Jan. 4.

Shooting stars blazed across the sky above the Kashinozaki lighthouse, a famed astrological observation spot in western Japan’s Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture. Another photo-worthy sight was an equestrian statue of Turkish republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, which seemed to be pointing to the streams of light.

As the meteors passed overhead, astronomy fans and others trying to take good photos for the start of the year could be heard gasping at the scene.

According to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the Quadrantids can be seen every year, but viewing conditions were excellent this year because there was very little moonlight.

The name Quadrantids comes from Quadrans Muralis, a group of stars that lost official constellation status in 1928 when the International Astronomical Union re-evaluated the constellations. Now, the shower can be seen near the Bootes and Draco constellations.