The Quadrantid meteor shower creates dazzling night sky

Pablo Tucker
January 3, 2021

One can use these stars and constellations to spot the radiant point in the east and enjoy the meteor showers in the Early morning of 3rd January 2021.

The new year gets underway with the first meteor shower of 2021. Quadrantids are known for bright fireball meteors, which are bigger explosions of light and shading that last more than the average meteor streak.

The Quadrantid meteor shower, which is one of the strongest spectacles in the sky but can be hard to see at times, is set to peak Saturday night, marking the first meteor shower of 2021.

This year's show might not be as flashy as past years due to the moonlight, however there could be as many as 100 meteors whizzing through the sky every hour during its peak, according to AccuWeather.

For observers in the northern hemisphere, the Quadrantids meteor shower will peak at about 14:30 UTC on Sunday, or 9:30 a.m. EST, according to the International Meteor Organization. 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 meteors seem to transmit from a heavenly body that does not exist anymore, called "Quadrans Muralis", yet that star grouping isn't the real wellspring of the meteors.

This is because the Quadrantids are best viewed during the night and dawn hours.

Hunting for meteors, like much of astronomy, is a game where patience is a virtue. Regardless of whether the skies are away from mists, an nearly full disappearing gibbous moon will keep on sparkling brightly consistently, making meteor-spotting tricky.

According to NASA, the Quadrantids reward most stargazers.

Come prepared for the winter weather with a sleeping bag, blanket, or lawn chair.

In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adjust and start seeing meteors.

"Be patient - the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse", NASA said.

"An alternative name for the Quadrantids is the Bootids since the meteors appear to radiate from the modern constellation of Bootes", NASA explained. The star was created by French astronomer Jerome Lalland in 1795.

It arose from a small asteroid called 2003 EH1 that is only about two miles (three kilometers) in diameter. The path of 2003 EH is perpendicular to the plane of Earth's orbit and spans till the orbit of Jupiter (5 times Earth-Sun distance - 1 AU), intersecting Earth's path where Earth will be in January.

Studies indicate that this body could have been part of a comet that shattered centuries ago.

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