Look up and be Amazed by the Quadrantids Meteor Shower Tonight


First off, since the early morning hours are best to watch, there may be some clear breaks in the clouds through which to catch a few meteors.

"An alternative name for the Quadrantids is the Bootids since the meteors appear to radiate from the modern constellation of Bootes", according to NASA.

Adolphe Quetelet of Brussels Observatory discovered the shower in the 1830s; shortly afterward, it was noted by several astronomers in Europe and America.

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Meteor showers occur each year as the Earth passes through the debris orbits of comets, though some showers, including the Quadrantids and Geminids, might originate from asteroids. Face toward the northeast between midnight and dawn on January 3 to January 4 for the best view.

The National Aeronatics and Space Administration (NASA) announced on Twitter that a rare Quantradid meteor shower is set to light up skies across the world in the early hours of January 4. Morning twilight will not interfere until about 6 a.m. local time. But this year, there will not be any moon in the predawn hours of January 4, so the peak will be easier to watch. A slightly different prediction of 3 a.m. EST (0800 GMT) is forecast in the 2020 Meteor Shower Calendar of the International Meteor Organization.

The meteor streaks will begin in that area of the night sky and streak downward toward the horizon. Any light pollution will cut down the numbers greatly. The site also suggests showing up 20 to 30 minutes before peak viewing hours to give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness.

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Astronomers had always been believed that the "Quads" could have derived relatively recently from a small comet. They originate from an asteroid called 2003 EH1.

The meteor showers are unique in that they are named for a constellation, "Quadrans Muralis", that isn't officially recognized.

If there are no breaks in the cloud, we can watch via Astronomy Live Stream on YouTube, which broadcasts the view of the night sky from near Denver, CO. It will be just past first quarter, a waxing gibbous phase.

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