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Fireworks for the New Year: The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks tomorrow!

2 Jan 2020, 14:00 UTC
Fireworks for the New Year: The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks tomorrow!
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The new year is starting off with a bang, astronomically speaking: The Quadrantid meteor shower will peak tomorrow night (03/04 January, Friday night/Saturday morning)! It’s the first meteor shower of the calendar year, an oft-forgotten one, and it’s predicted to be pretty good this year.

Unlike most showers, which take a few days to strengthen, the Quadrantids peak very rapidly, in just a few hours. So tonight you won’t see many meteors at all, but tomorrow night that could be different. Under ideal conditions this one can reach well over 100 meteors per hour — however, to be fair, those conditions are pretty rare. Most likely you’ll see about half that, but that’s still roughly one per minute. The good news is that the Moon will be first quarter and sets around midnight, so its bright light won’t interfere with the shower.

The peak this year is predicted to occur at 08:00 UTC 04 January — so Friday night/Saturday morning at 03:00 Eastern (US) time. If you’re serious about watching you should be out at least an hour before then, in case the prediction is off a bit. That’s a good idea anyway, since that’ll give your eyes time to ...

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