Quadrantids meteors will be first to light up the skies in 2020


The Quadrantid meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of January 3.

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".

Signs of the Quadrantid meteor shower began in the tail end of December, but the event peaks in early January. During its peak, between 60 to 200 meteors can be seen per hour under flawless conditions.

What time is the Quadratids meteor shower tonight? You'll also want to get there a bit before 3:20 am so your eyes can adjust to the darkness, and so you don't miss anything if the meteor shower happens to start a little early.

Meteor showers usually occur when particles of comet debris enter our atmosphere and burn up, appearing as shooting stars. However, Quadrans Muralis was bumped off the list of modern constellations in 1922, long after the meteor shower was first observed in 1825, and the name was simply retained because Quadrans Muralis was a constellation for a long enough time to lend its name. As per NASA, it is viewed as outstanding amongst other yearly meteor showers. 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.

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As for how you should watch, the Meteor Society says that your best bet is to face the northeast quadrant of the sky and then centre your view roughly halfway up the sky.

Look up tonight and you might see something fantastic.

The Quadrantids were first observed over Italy in 1825.

Photographer Jeff Berkes captured several Quadrantid meteors in this long-exposure image taken in the Florida Keys on January 2, 2012, during the annual Quadrantid meteor shower.

Some astronomers believe that asteroid 2003 EH1 is really a piece of an old, "extinct " comet, perhaps a comet that was recorded by Chinese, Korean and Japanese observers from 1490-91.