by Joe Rao, SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist
“If you enjoy the sight of “shooting stars” then make plans to be out looking skyward during the predawn hours on Wednesday (Jan. 4) when a strong display of Quadrantid meteors may appear. This first meteor shower of the year may end up being one of the best of 2012.
To paraphrase Forrest Gump: The Quadrantid meteor shower is like opening up a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get! Indeed, the Quadrantids are notoriously unpredictable, but if any year promises a fine display, this could be it.
Peak activity is due to occur early on Wednesday at about 2:30 a.m. EST (0730 GMT) and favors eastern North America. The Quadrantid meteor shower sky map above shows where to look to see the display.
The Quadrantids (pronounced KWA-dran-tids) provides one of the most intense annual meteor showers, with a brief, sharp maximum lasting but a few hours. Adolphe Quetelet of Brussels Observatory discovered the shower in the 1830s, and shortly afterward it was noted by several other astronomers in Europe and America. [First Photos: The 2012 Quadrantid Meteor Shower]“
|The first major meteor shower of 2012 takes place on the night of Tuesday, Jan. 3 and the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 4. It peaks at 2 a.m. EST (0700 GMT) on Jan. 4.
CREDIT: Starry Night Software