The Quadrantid meteor shower creates dazzling night sky

The Quadrantid meteor shower creates dazzling night sky”

The annual meteor shower begins between 28 December and 12 January each year, but in 2021 the UK's best trip will be on 2 and 3 January after dark. First seen in 1825, they originate from the small asteroid 1003 EH1, which was discovered in March 2003 by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search.

"An alternate name for quadrilaterals is Bootids as meteorites appear to radiate from the modern constellation Bootes", NASA says.

The Quadrantids appear every January and NASA has described the shooting stars as "one of the best meteor showers of the year".

During the brief window from Saturday night into Sunday morning, there is a chance to spot between 60 to 200 meteors per hour traveling at 25.5 miles per second. They have the potential to be the strongest shower of the year, along with the Perseids and the Geminids.

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"The reason for the short peak is due to the gentle flow of particles in the shower and the fact that the Earth crosses the current at a perpendicular angle", NASA says. It was full this week and it will remain bright in the night sky this weekend, likely overshadowing the brightness of the meteor display.

The quadrilateral is first seen in the northern hemisphere at night and in the pre-dawn times (this waterfall is also seen in latitude 51 ° S north).

Since the moon will be in its waning gibbous phase, the bright light will obstruct your view a bit but you should still be able to see some shooting stars. And on the weekend, the moon's still going to be 80% full and it's going to be up in the morning sky along with the meteor shower, so it's actually going to overwhelm a lot of the meteors. "Be patient-the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse", NASA added.

Not at all like numerous other well known meteor showers, which top more than a few evenings, timing your survey of the Quadrantids is fundamental to spotting meteors.

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