What is the word problem in tonight’s meteor shower?

Quadrantis, Quadrans Muralis, meteor shower, NASATonight’s meteor shower has an anachronistic name. It was originally named after the constellation Quadrans Muralis, discovered by Jerome Lalande in 1795. Well, “discover” may be the wrong word. Today, the International Astronomical Union no longer recognizes this constellation, rather the stars that were a part of it are now considered to be parts of other, more widely recognized constellations. Lalande named the constellation “Quadrans Muralis” after an instrument he created to measure star positions.

“Muralis” meant “wall” in Latin, and “quadrans” referred not to a square but to one-fourth of a circle, or the arc created by a 90 degrees of a circle. Here is a picture of Lalande’s tool. So we should say Lalande “created” the Quadrans Muralis constellation.

(Learn more about the names of stars in the sky here.)

Even though the constellation is obsolete, tonight’s meteor shower takes its name from it: Quadrantis. This meteor shower was named in the 1870s and originates somewhere near what once was the Quadrans Muralis. It’s called “Quadrantids” after the Quadrans Muralis with the suffix “-id” which means “descendant of or offspring of” in Greek. It falls every year in January in short, bright showers.

Learn more about astronomical phenomenon and how they are named here.

Tonight you will be able to see the meteor shower in the high Northern hemisphere, in Canada, Sweden, Finland, and Norway. Parts of the eastern and central United States may be able to catch a glimpse of the meteors between 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning EST.

Bay State moves closer to gay-marriage challenge; Massachusetts lawmakers approved a measure Tuesday that’s needed to put a proposed ban on the ballot in 2008.(USA)

The Christian Science Monitor January 4, 2007 Byline: Ben Arnoldy Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor BOSTON — Massachusetts, the only state in the US where gay couples can legally marry, is now much closer to letting the voters decide whether to stick with gay marriage or change the state constitution to ban it.

State legislators, meeting in a constitutional convention Tuesday, took one of two big steps toward putting the issue on the 2008 ballot. Their vote keeps alive a citizen-led initiative to amend the constitution to prevent same-sex marriage, ensuring that the debate over one of the most contentious social issues in America is not finished in Massachusetts. go to web site gay marriage facts

Gay marriage has been legal in the state since May 2004, after the Supreme Judicial Court ruled Massachusetts’ practice of denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated its constitution. The ruling applied only in Massachusetts. Twenty-seven other states have amended their constitutions to explicitly prohibit gay marriage.

Now, the stage appears to be set for a major battle in Massachusetts over the issue – one that is likely to draw big money, political muscle, and media from across the country. Polling over the past three years gives both sides reason to hope they could win a popular vote.

The stakes of a ballot vote are high. Either voters would ratify same-sex marriage for the first time, or they would kick it off its only toehold in the United States.

“It would be a national issue, and lots of money would be brought in on both sides,” says Jeffrey Berry, a political scientist at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. “I think ultimately, if it came to a vote in Massachusetts, the pro-gay-marriage side would win. I think the polls show that, and over time people have become more comfortable with it.” The most recent statewide poll, taken this past November, found that 62 percent of residents oppose an amendment to ban same-sex marriage; 30 percent support it. But gay-marriage advocates are hardly resting easy. “We’ve seen in other states that these kind of campaigns can be both very vicious and very emotional, and depending on who has how much money, that can have an impact,” says Lee Swislow, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Advocate Defenders, a New England group.

Surveys have seesawed since the state supreme court ruling in November 2003. In the days after the decision, two newspaper polls – one surveying registered voters, the other residents – found roughly 50 percent support for gay marriage, with 38 percent opposed. But by January 2004, a Zogby International poll found nearly the opposite – 52 percent of likely voters opposed to gay marriage, 42 percent supporting. go to site gay marriage facts

“This is conjecture, but I think that initially … people thought: ‘Sure, what the heck, let’s allow it.’ Then when the decision actually happened, people might have gotten a little bit concerned: ‘Oh, wow, what does this mean?’ ” says Gerry Chervinsky, a pollster who has surveyed attitudes about gay marriage in Massachusetts. Most recently, voters seemed to relax, he says, perhaps after determining the change had little impact on their own lives.

A similar short-term spike in opposition to gay marriage happened at the national level. Polling by the Pew Research Center shows gradual rises in support for gay marriage over the past 10 years, except for a significant drop between late 2003 and the 2004 election. But by 2006, support for gay marriage had reached a new high of 39 percent, with 51 percent opposing. Support has since ebbed slightly.

The catalyst for the strong opposition appears to be the US Supreme Court ruling on sodomy in 2003 and the Massachusetts court decision later that year, says Scott Keeter, director of survey research at Pew.

“There may just be a sort of status quo, libertarian perspective that people have about a lot of things. That is, if they aren’t thinking about it, then it’s a matter of, ‘Well, it’s not bothering me right now, so it’s OK,’ ” says Mr. Keeter. “But then when it’s in the news, people who, for religious reasons or other values they have, are really not inclined to support gay marriage … may bring their opinions more into line with some of those values.” If the issue gets on the Massachusetts ballot, a similar dynamic could emerge. What’s unclear is whether opposition to gay marriage has waned in Massachusetts because – as many observers suggest – voters perceive that little harm has come of the 8,500 same-sex unions that have already taken place.

“That’s baloney, because the consequences of such a sweeping social change are not going to be seen in the first couple of months or first couple of years,” says Evelyn Reilly, director of public policy at the Massachusetts Family Institute, a group leading the push for a constitutional ban.

Support for gay marriage, she worries, obscures the centrality of procreation in marriage, leading to fewer children raised by two married parents of opposite genders. “Children need both,” says Ms. Reilly.

It’s a message that resonates particularly with evangelical Christians and churchgoing Roman Catholics. Churches gathered 120,000 of the total 170,000 signatures on the petition, Reilly says.

If gay-marriage opponents plan to focus their message on child rearing, supporters present the issue as one of basic civil rights.

Lisa Forest stood outside the State House Tuesday carrying a sign that asks: “Did we vote on your marriage?” Ms. Forest married another woman in November. “I don’t believe that civil rights should be voted on,” she says. The amendment’s wording should exempt those same-sex couples already married.

For the amendment to appear on the ’08 ballot, the state legislature must approve the initiative once more in the coming year.


  1. The Freak B) -  September 4, 2012 - 5:11 pm

    you looked at it, thats whats wrong with it

  2. James -  April 22, 2012 - 10:25 am

    I agree with Jeanna

  3. Jeanna -  January 10, 2012 - 1:46 pm

    Wait, could I have seen it from SoCal? Aww, I missed it! >:-(

  4. METEOR | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  January 5, 2012 - 8:48 am

    [...] ‘Meteor’ is Cheese enough? — The ‘Sling Blade’ should be able to cut it. — Quadrantids or some other stuff. — When the Moon hits your eye Like a Pizza — Amore,in love without Meat — The shower’s the thing in the morning — Especially if there’s still Cheese to eat. –>>L.T.Rhyme [...]

  5. Pepito -  January 5, 2012 - 7:56 am


  6. Anatak -  January 5, 2012 - 6:48 am

    I live in South Beach,FL so its pretty hard to see anything in the sky with the glare of the buildings surrounding you so i head to the swamps i missed this one so when is the next one showing up?
    Does any one know??

  7. DEMACIA!!!!! -  January 4, 2012 - 9:39 pm

    No meteor shower for me.

  8. Ray -  January 4, 2012 - 4:10 pm

    View it from a shoreline the remoter the better: half the skylight and minimized.

    Actually, there is a lot of ice (frozen water) in space: So, when an ice-meteor melts in the upper atmosphere, that’s a shower of sorts….

  9. maki -  January 4, 2012 - 3:19 pm


  10. kevin -  January 4, 2012 - 2:03 pm

    Is it in midnight or morning?

  11. keithy -  January 4, 2012 - 1:36 pm

    with all my heart, i hope you people see a lot of meteor showers
    i saw 1 though. it was aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssssssssssoooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  12. o -  January 4, 2012 - 1:34 pm

    Zoya, relax. All a meteor shower is, is that comets that come in contact with earth’s atmosphere. It burns up in the atmosphere, usually. Comets actually make shooting stars so just think of a lot of shooting stars.

  13. Vicaari -  January 4, 2012 - 12:55 pm

    Yes. I live in that part of the world where I could have … didn’t. Awake too– one to five in the morning. “It’s happening…” heard the radio, while lying on the…. There were higher power and ISSUES of irrationality, many of them, perhaps; didn’t dare to dare. I am usually the curious types, lately however, it’s not my way. I missed it, perhaps. I am not sorry to miss.

    Thanks for the informative piece.

  14. This Gurl Right Here -  January 4, 2012 - 12:36 pm

    I’am 11 years old and I would really love to see one of these meteor showers.They look and seem so interesting. I live in New York, specifically Staten Island and I don’t think I’ll be able to watch it because of the big city lights. At night, I barely see any stars and when I do, it’s only 1.

  15. Pubert -  January 4, 2012 - 12:05 pm

    It’s a Festivus miracle!

  16. Kat -  January 4, 2012 - 11:41 am

    Donna, as a 26 year old I can tell you in no uncertain terms that your son is definitely awake at 2 AM, especially if he’s in college.

  17. donna -  January 4, 2012 - 10:38 am

    I’m 22 miles from Philly (burbs) and suggest you visit central Bucks County to see the ‘shower’. Wrightstown (near Newtown) can be pretty dark which would allow for good viewing. Just go slow while driving because it’s deer country (thus the name “Bucks County”) and they aren’t afraid of roads and cars.

    My son and I used to get up in the middle of the night to look for the meteror showers in August and November many years ago when he was growing up. Thankfully, we were able to see a beautiful one while he was winter camping at BSA Camp Ockanickon near Russell Stover State Park. I never saw so many – it was beautiful.

    At 22 years old, I doubt I’ll be able to get him to go at 2-3AM….. ; )

  18. ed -  January 4, 2012 - 10:15 am

    Light pollution really is annoying isn’t it Isabeth? I live in San Diego and have to drive to the mountains (45 minutes) to see the stars.

  19. Isabeth Rodriguez -  January 4, 2012 - 8:20 am

    I am mexican and we do not have that kind of meteor showers.

  20. Jim -  January 4, 2012 - 7:29 am

    Learn more about astronomical “phenomena” not “phenomenon”.

  21. Zoya -  January 4, 2012 - 6:56 am

    i dont believe that this is true but i have to be there to believe it, i wont ever beleive in meteor showers because it has been said that meteors are directed towards earth causing a big firey flame of disaster. i have not heard anything about this except for this one and they always say that it is coming towards us but it never has so i find this hard to believe.

    this coming form an eleven year old!!! at harry flood byrd middle

  22. B.San -  January 4, 2012 - 1:01 am

    I truly hope with my heart that you will get to see *a hundred* meteor showers.

    ~Bryan Sanchez

  23. john smith -  January 3, 2012 - 8:56 pm

    Isabeth why don’t you try moving a little to the right maybe you will see the meteor shower better.

  24. Joey -  January 3, 2012 - 8:37 pm

    I like deer. They remind me of the sky.

  25. Pubert -  January 3, 2012 - 8:30 pm

    I love deer. They remind me of chocolate.

  26. Joey -  January 3, 2012 - 8:26 pm

    I saw a deer once!

  27. Pubert -  January 3, 2012 - 8:23 pm

    That’s great.

  28. Nshera -  January 3, 2012 - 6:31 pm

    I am a official resident of New York. I want to be a singer/actress when I grow up. Now, one of the things I would like to see, God forbid, when I die is to see a meteor shower. I would also like to find out which state, country, province etc. has more meteor showers. :)

  29. parmeet guleria -  January 3, 2012 - 5:39 pm

    Its nice realy…wow

  30. Triston Li -  January 3, 2012 - 5:37 pm

    I wish I could see the meteor shower tonight!

  31. Zuul Woodson -  January 3, 2012 - 5:33 pm


  32. SavetheEarth -  January 3, 2012 - 4:35 pm

    I’m with Isabeth. With all the lights here in Southern California you can’t see a thing! Interesting article :)

  33. Leina -  January 3, 2012 - 3:48 pm

    If only it wasn’t so EARLY!!!!

  34. Casey Gopinath -  January 3, 2012 - 3:44 pm


    Don’t be harmed by the meteor shower.

  35. Michael -  January 3, 2012 - 3:07 pm

    I’ll try and catch this on Youtube. From Windsor Ontario, you can count the stars in the sky on two hands usually.

  36. Maddy M. -  January 3, 2012 - 3:01 pm

    I’m only thirteen, so I hope my mom will let me see this. I live in the suburbs of Allentown, so I’ve probably got a good seat.

  37. unown -  January 3, 2012 - 2:43 pm

    how about greece? it is very very colorful there. even more than sweden ( i went to sweden and greece)

  38. Cyberquill -  January 3, 2012 - 2:38 pm

    There’s no water in space, so meteor showers are really the only ones you can take.

  39. Kiki -  January 3, 2012 - 2:33 pm

    Isabeth; just find a big field, or strip of land away from the city. Along a highway would work, just make sure your far away from big lights. Bring blankets and flashlights, and camp out in your car in the field, you’ll be able to watch them. ou might have to drive for a while to find an area, but it will be worth it. Bring a camera or camcorder, and tape it too! They are definitely beautiful, and an hour or two long. It changes from shower to shower.

  40. Jeanna -  January 3, 2012 - 2:26 pm

    Hmph. I don’t think I’ll be able to see it over here i California. >_<

  41. Isabeth Rodriguez -  January 3, 2012 - 2:03 pm

    I am a resident of Philadelphia, PA and would really enjoy watching a meteor shower. However, due to all the bright lights and tall buildings, I will not be able to. I hear from the words of my friend that visited Sweden, meteor showers are very colorful and beautiful. I someday hope to see a meteor shower.


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