Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

First meteor shower of 2019 peaks tonight

Quadrans Muralis resurrected. Credit Dave Dickinson Quadrans Muralis resurrected. Credit Dave Dickinson
Sandy Nunez | 04 January, 2019, 03:40

The UK is about to be treated to a dazzling celestial display as up to 100 shooting stars scorch through the sky every hour.

According to the American Meteor Society, the shower is expected to reach its peak in the USA between midnight and dawn Friday. But they will be most visible at their peak on January 3, according to the American Meteor Society website.

False-color image of a rare early Quadrantid, captured by a NASA meteor camera in 2010.

This Quadrantid meteor made an appearance over New Mexico in 2013. Around 60 percent of the meteors will be outside the field of view in North America, though stargazers in that region should still expect to see roughly 30 to 40 percent of meteors per hour, according to the Washington Post.

Compared to other meteor showers such as Geminids or Orionids, the Quadrantids can be harder to observe due to their small peak time.

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'Fireballs are larger explosions of light and colour that can persist longer than an average meteor streak. And if you live in a city, it's best to leave and find a stargazing spot with little to no light pollution.

They will be visible across the northern hemisphere, including in the UK.

Where in the sky should I look?

"The name Quadrantids comes from the constellation Quadrans Muralis (Mural Quadrant), created by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795", wrote Bruce McClure on EarthSky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look straight up. Be patient-the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.