Tonight, shooting stars will fill the sky, in the first astronomical spectacle of 2018.
The annual Quadrantid meteor shower will peak on January 3 and 4, producing as many as 50 to 120 meteors, per hour.
The first major meteor shower of 2018 is expected to peak between 20:00 and 21:00 GMT (21-22 hours UTC). The sky watchers should have the ability to see up to 120 meteors, per hour, enjoying the first shooting stars show in the new year.
The Quadrantids meteor shower will be visible from both of the hemispheres and be coinciding with the Wolf Moon, the biggest Super Moon of the year.
How do we get the best view of the Quadrantid meteor shower?
The same as the Super Moon, this meteor shower can also be watched sans special glasses, as well as without the aid of a telescope. If you are in some cold area, dress warmly and grab a blanket to lie down (it will be ideally somewhere away from light pollution). It will take you about 20-30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark.
The shower will be visible below the Ursa Minor constellation, which is most commonly called the Little Dipper in North America and the Big Dipper. If you have some trouble in identifying both of the constellations, look for the brighter Big Dipper. You can also use the two stars that trace the outer edge of its vessel to point you to Polaris, the North Star. Look beneath the constellations to catch the falling tails of the meteors.
The Quadrantid meteor shower can also be compared to the Perseids Meteor Shower, as well as the Geminids meteor shower.
Fireballs are larger explosions of light, as well as color which can persist longer than an average meteor streak. This happens as a result of the fact that fireballs originate from larger particles of material.
What is the Quadrantid Meteor Shower?
The Quadrantids are thought to be made up of the dust, as well as the debris which is left by asteroid 2003 EH1, that NASA now describes as possibly a “dead comet.”