The Quadrantids: How to Watch First Major Meteor Shower of 2020

Typical meteor showers peak for a period of about two days, but the first meteor shower of 2020 and of the 2020s will peak only for a few hours during the late evening of January 3 until the predawn hours of January 4 in North America.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the narrow peak window may be tough to catch without dedication and clear skies, but attempting it could be worth the effort.

The International Meteor Organization expects that the Quadrantids meteor shower to peak around 2:20 a.m.

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'The meteors can be seen in all parts of the sky, so it's good to be in a wide-open space where you can scan the night sky with your eyes'.

It's expected at night between January 3 and January 4...

... The peak of the Quadrantids typically lasts for only around 6 hours. They often put on a great show, featuring up to 100 meteors per hour during the shower's peak, but previous year in North America, the timing wasn't quite right. During the Lyrids, stargazers will be able to see around 20 meteors per hour.

The Quadrantid meteor shower is relied upon to top Friday night into Saturday morning. However, Quadrans Muralis was bumped off the list of modern constellations in 1922, long after the meteor shower was first observed in 1825, and the name was simply retained because Quadrans Muralis was a constellation for a long enough time to lend its name. The Quadrantid meteor shower will only be around for a few hours.

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Being in the Northern Hemisphere helps, and the Intenrational Meteor Organization says the peak will be January 4 at 8:00 UTC, which is 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. This meteor shower is due to the dust of the ancient asteroid 2003 EH1.

"To give yourself the best chance of spotting the meteors, head out to an open and dark area, allowing your eyes time to become sensitive in the darkness by avoiding any bright sources of light like a mobile phone". You just have to be patient and look towards the sky. When they don't show up right away, if you're cold and uncomfortable, you're not going to be looking for meteors for very long!

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