Quadrantids meteor shower peaking in UK tonight with up to 100 shooting stars crossing the sky
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2023's first meteor shower in the UK will peak tonight with up to 100 shooting stars crossing the sky.
The Quadrantids are set to peak on 3 January to 4 January 2023, with bluish or yellowish-white meteors with fine trains are expected to be visible in certain parts of the UK.
But you've got to have clear skies to be able to see them.
Meteors occur when debris burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere, which produces a beautiful shooting tear-drop effect in the sky.
Fragments of rock burn up in our atmosphere and come from the asteroid 2003 EH1.
The average speed for a Quadrantid meteor is around 70 miles per second (250,000 miles per hour), and the air in front of the meteor is squashed and heated to thousands of degrees Celsius.
This means that smaller meteors can vaporise and leave behind a bright trail, while larger meteors have the potential to explode as fireballs.
At peak performance, Quadrantids can produce about 120 meteors per hour, which means 'there’s a good chance of seeing one that becomes a fireball', according to UK Meteor Network.
And the best viewing time is expected to be at 3am on Wednesday 4 January.
David Bailey of UK Meteor Network has provided five tips on how to see the Quadrantid meteor shower from the UK.
"You don’t need any special equipment to see the Quadrantid meteor shower from the UK but a bit of preparation is a good idea," he writes.
"First, check the weather forecast. If it’s going to be cloudy, then try the days before the peak viewing period.
"Next, find a dark (but safe!) place with a clear view away from buildings, trees, and street lights.
"The Quadrantids can appear in any part of the sky, so the more you can see the better."
"Also, make sure you turn off all torches and phones for 15 minutes so that your eyes can adjust to the darkness," he adds.
"If you need to use a torch, then consider buying one with a red filter.
"Finally, make sure that you’re warm and comfortable.
"The Quadrantids peak lasts only 6 hours, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled!"
Sadly, residents in England and Wales probably won't get the best look at The Quadrantids, with the Met Office predicting a cloudy forecast. However, those in Scotland might be a bit more lucky as it is reported there is some potential for clear skies.
Although, even if the sky was clear, we have a 91% waxing gibbous moon, which means a lot of illumination from the moon, making the meteors more difficult to see.