Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Quadrantid meteor shower set to streak across the sky tonight

The Quadrantids can be one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year The Quadrantids can be one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year
Doris Mccormick | 04 January, 2019, 11:55

It's most visible to people living in the northern hemisphere, which means we should be in a great position to see all the action.

The Quadrantid meteor shower will peak at around 2am.

According to the American Meteor Society, the shower is expected to reach its peak in the US between midnight and dawn Friday.

During ideal conditions, anywhere from 60 to over 100 meteors per hour can be seen during the peak. But EarthSky.org notes that predicting the peak of a meteor shower is just an educated guess. The Quadrantid shower, however, is a product of an asteroid.

'Fireballs are larger explosions of light and colour that can persist longer than an average meteor streak.

Be sure to bundle up if you're trying to view the shower, as temperatures are expected to be in the mid-twenties overnight Thursday.

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Stargazers in urban areas may have more luck spotting meteors if they travel to a place with a wide view of the sky and less light pollution, NASA explains.

Where in the sky should I look?

"The name Quadrantids comes from the constellation Quadrans Muralis (Mural Quadrant), created by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795", wrote Bruce McClure on EarthSky. "So that is definitely going to make them look brighter".

On its website, NASA advised those keen on watching the celestial event to lie flat on their back, facing northeast.

Experts recommend dedicating at least 45 minutes to viewing the meteor shower - as eyes can require up to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness. "Be patient - the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse", it wrote.

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