Chance to see meteor shower in skies over north-east tonight

Christopher Davidson
January 4, 2019

The new year began with the most distant flyby of a planetary object, and it continues with the Quadrantid meteor shower tonight, one of the best annual shows in the night sky, according to NASA.

Unlike other meteor showers, such as the Perseids or Geminids where the peak can last for a couple days, the Quadrantids peak is only for several hours, with the best time occurring between midnight and dawn.

This means you should have a good chance of seeing a shooting star. "So that is definitely going to make them look brighter". 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.

Expect to see about 80 meteors per hour, but there could be as many as 200.

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IF we get lucky and get a few breaks in the clouds, you'll want to go to a dark place and find the Big Dipper.

This year's show doesn't have great timing for North American observations. That's because the Quadrantids' namesake constellation no longer exists - at least, not as a recognized constellation. "This now-obsolete constellation was located between the constellations of Bootes the Herdsman and Draco the Dragon".

Like the Geminid meteor shower, the Quadrantid comes from a mysterious asteroid or "rock comet", rather than an icy comet, which is unusual.

On Thursday afternoon, Malaysia's national space agency ANGKASA also shared information about the Quadrantids, which it said can be viewed in Malaysia with the naked eye in clear weather and in an area free from light. They tend to be a little fainter in the sky - so much so that you might not see them. "And there is that random chance that some of this stuff will have a landfall".

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