Quadrantid meteor shower set to streak across the sky tonight

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Quadrantid meteor shower set to streak across the sky tonight

Tonight sees the peak of the first meteor shower of 2019 - the Quadrantids, named after the constellation Quadrans Muralis, which was discovered in the late 18th Century.

NASA calls the January celestial event one of the best annual shows in the night sky, only three meteor showers during the course of the year are capable of producing that many meteors in an hour. The Quadrantids are known for bright, colorful fireball meteors because of the large particles of an asteroid interacting with our atmosphere. The International Meteor Organization predicts the peak of the shower to be at 2 a.m. coordinated universal time, which is around 7 p.m.in Kingman, according to a conversion chart at https://earthsky.org.

The meteor shower radiates between the Big Dipper and Bootes.

Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society says observers in the USA can expect around 25 Quadrantids per hour at its best.

The eastern half of the continental United States is geographically the most favored for observing the short peak of this shower.

The Quadrantids, which has been ongoing since the last couple days of December, has a reputation for being hard to observe, though Thursday night is your best chance. "In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors".

Find an open area with a wide view of the sky, and don't forget to bundle up.

If you want to check your chances for seeing them, Time and Date has a helpful guide too.

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.

This year's show doesn't have great timing for North American observations.

We're also approaching a new moon on 5 January, so there won't be much of a lunar glow either.

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