Published: Fri, January 04, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

The first meteor shower of the year peaks tonight

The first meteor shower of the year peaks tonight

False-color image of a rare early Quadrantid, captured by a NASA meteor camera in 2010.

Expect to see about 80 meteors per hour, but there could be as many as 200.

The meteor shower is expected to peak at 2am, with the Met Office suggesting people in the north-east will have a moderate chance of viewing the display if the skies remain clear. However, the peak will only last a few hours.

EarthSky, at https://earthsky.org/, says meteors will come from the northern sky with the radiant point making a right angle with the Big Dipper and the star Arcturus.

He continues by saying that in 2003, an astronomer by the name of Peter Jenniskens "tentatively identified" the parent body of the Quadrantids as rocky-bodied asteroid 2003 EH1, as opposed to an icy comet.

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The meteor shower is expected to be visible in the Northern Hemisphere, especially mid-northern and far-northern latitudes, if weather conditions allow. The shower favors Europe this year, with the highest activity predicted for about 2 a.m. GMT on January 4.

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.

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.

On January 5 and 6, depending on where you live, a partial solar eclipse will be visible in China, in North and South Korea, in Japan, in Russian Federation, and over the North Pacific Ocean and the Aleutian Islands.

If you miss the meteor shower, you can check out the super blood wolf moon at the end of the month on the 21st.

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