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One Of The Best Meteor Showers Of The Year To Light Up Sky Tonight

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One Of The Best Meteor Showers Of The Year To Light Up Sky Tonight

One of the year’s best meteor showers is set to light up the sky tonight, creating a stunning display with as many as 200 shooting stars an hour. 

The Quadrantids meteor shower takes place in early January each year, and is known especially for its ‘bright fireball meteors’ that are brighter, larger and last longer than others. 

For 2022, the Quadrantids will peak between 3 and 4 January, with the brightest moment coming just before 9pm UK time (4pm EST) on 3 January.  

While the total period for the shower lasts from 28 December to 12 January, the peak itself is what you want to try and look out for, as this is when you could spot hundreds of meteors within just 60 minutes.  

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Within a couple of hours, however, the number of meteors drops by as much as 50 percent.  

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

It’ll be well worth it, according to NASA’s Solar System Exploration, which says the Quadrantids are considered to be ‘one of the best annual meteor showers’.  

“Most meteor showers have a two day peak, which makes catching sight of these other meteors much more possible,” its website says. 

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“The Quadrantids peak, on the other hand, is much shorter - only a few hours. (The reason the peak is so short is due to the shower's thin stream of particles and the fact that the Earth crosses the stream at a perpendicular angle.) During its peak, 60 to as many as 200 Quadrantid meteors can be seen per hour under perfect conditions. 

“Quadrantids are also known for their bright fireball meteors. Fireballs are larger explosions of light and colour that can persist longer than an average meteor streak. This is due to the fact that fireballs originate from larger particles of material. Fireballs are also brighter, with magnitudes brighter than -3.” 

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

NASA says the Quadrantids - which appear when Earth moves through debris left from the asteroid (196256) 2003 EH1 - are best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere during the night and predawn hours.  

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You’re best finding an area that’s not near any street lights, before lying ‘flat on your back with your feet facing northeast’ and simply looking up.  

“In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors,” NASA explains, adding that you should remember to ‘be patient’. 

Of course, if you do decide to head outside to view the night sky, remember to wrap up warm to protect yourself from the freezing cold January weather.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Space

Jess Hardiman
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