Look up: the first meteor shower of the year peaks tonight

Jan 4 2017, 6:09 am

If you’re up late tonight, you might want to step outside.

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower is expected to peak over night tonight, and with the new moon’s dim light the viewing conditions will be favourable, according to Space.com.

Although not as well-known as other meteor showers, the Quadrantid is expected to average 120 meteors per hour at its peak. But while these meteors are fainter and easier to miss, Space says the Quadrantid can “produce fireballs with giant, glowing tails highlighting the meteors’ paths across the sky.”

When looking for the meteor shower, you will need to look for the constellation Bootes. According to Space, the easiest way to find it is to look north for the Big Dipper, then follow the “arc” of the Big Dipper’s handle across the sky to the red giant star Arcturus, which anchors the bottom of Bootes.

Even if catch the shower at an off-peak moment, the rates of about 25 meteors per hour are still expected. You won’t need binoculars, just find a dark sky and give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes to adjust.

And of course, dress warmly.

The Quadrantid meteor shower of 2017. This NASA sky-map shows where the shower will appear to radiate out from. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

If you do head out tonight, in addition to the meteor shower, Venus and Mars should be more visible and neatly aligned with the moon this week, according to SkyNews.

A similar alignment took place a few weeks ago, and was captured by a Toronto photographer.


Daily Hive StaffDaily Hive Staff

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