Quadrantid Meteor Shower Late Tonight

 

“SHOOTING STARS”

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

 

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