How To Watch The Quadrantids Meteor Shower Tonight
How To Watch The Quadrantids Meteor Shower Tonight
05 January, 2020, 00:16
The first major meteor shower of this decade - the Quadrantid - will be visible over North America this weekend and will peak during the evening hours of January 3 and the early hours of January 4. Unfortunately, a forecast of light rain in the Northeast overnight on Friday may hamper the view.
The best time to see the first meteor shower of 2020 is just before dawn on Saturday. At peak, this meteor shower will show approx 40 meteors per yours. During its peak, between 60 to 200 meteors can be seen per hour under flawless conditions. They will reach their peak around 3 a.m. on Saturday morning, January 4, 2020. The meteor shower should start around 3:00 a.m. EST.
Dhara Patel, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, told the PA news agency: "With up to 120 meteors per hour, the Quadrantids are considered one of the best annual meteor showers, however you're likely to see far fewer meteors under imperfect viewing conditions".
Keep your gaze just below the Big Dipper constellation for a good chance to spot the shower's center point, known as the radiant.
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While the meteors can be spotted all over the sky, Ms Patel advises facing towards the north-east, in the direction of the radiant, to catch as many of these shooting stars as possible.
Sunrise on January 4 will be at 8.06am in London, so you will want to be outside at least an hour before this around 7am as your eyes will need about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark to enable you to see the lights in the sky properly. Although this particular constellation is no longer used, it still lends its name to the meteor shower. So avid meteor watchers across the globe will be on the watch no matter what. This can help create a series of bright meteorites of fireballs that explode in the night sky in bursts of light and color that last longer than their most basic trail of shooting star.
We can also "listen" to the meteor shower, via the Meteor Echoes live stream, which presents the radar detections of meteoroid hitting the top of the atmosphere as high pitched audio chirps. The Quadrantids meteors specifically come from an asteroid called 2003 EH1, which takes 5.52 years to orbit the sun. The December Geminids is the other, originating from "rock comet" asteroid 3200 Phaethon.
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