The annual January Quadrantids meteor shower will peak on tonight, providing stargazers a chance to watch more than 100 meteors per hour in a cold January night.
And people in Europe should have the best chance of seeing the celestial light show.
Of about dozen annual meteor showers that hit Earth, only three produce rates of more than 100 meteors per hour: January's Quadrantid meteor shower, August's Perseids, and December's Geminids.
January's Quadrantid meteors appear to originate from a spot midway between the Big Dipper's handle and a group of four stars in the Quadrans Muralis constellation, marking the head of Draco, the dragon. The astronomical event is instigated by 2003 EH1, an object labelled as "an asteroid or possible rock comet" by NASA.
Quadrantids' peak lasts for only a few hours, meaning it is a little trickier to view it compared to other meteor showers. Quadrantids' peak is short due to the "shower's thin stream of particles and the fact that the Earth crosses the stream at a perpendicular angle," according to NASA.
The peak of 2019 Quadrantid shower will unfold from the night of 3 January, into the early morning hours of 4 January. The best time to watch the show will be the predawn hours around 2am (3am Central European Time) of the morning of 4 January. Those in Europe will have the best chance of watching the most meteors in the sky.
You don't need binoculars or a telescope to see the Quadrantids. The event can be viewed with naked eyes provided you are able to find a dark location free from any sort of light pollution. Such a dark spot would increase your chances of catching more shooting stars whizzing through the night sky.
And, don't forget to dress appropriately as you will be spending your time outdoors on a cold and damp January night. Watching the event, however, should be worth the effort.
Good luck for 2019 Quadrantid meteor shower!
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