Prime viewing for Quadrantids meteor shower early Sunday

Katie Ramirez
January 2, 2021

According to EarthSky.org, the best viewing time for Kamloops and Okanagan residents will be during the predawn hours of January 3, but meteor showers are notorious for being hard to predict accurately.

At non-peak times, there will be fewer meteors over Norfolk, but the ones that do appear will be long-lived meteors which will travel across a wide area of sky.

The Quadrantids are known for their bright fireball meteors and are unique because they originate from an asteroid, instead of a comet. Even if the sky was clear of clouds, a almost full-fledged convex moon would continue to shine bright throughout the weekend, making meteorite spotting hard. This shower is considered one of the best opportunities for young viewers, since this shower starts around 9 or 10 p.m. It was full this week and it will remain bright in the night sky this weekend, likely overshadowing the brightness of the meteor display.

The Quadrantids mark the last meteor shower of the period, in front of a while with minimal heavenly action.

Their radiant-the point in the sky from which the Quadrantids appear to come from - is an obsolete constellation called "Quadrans Muralis".

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If the IMO estimate is correct, then people in North America - especially on the West Coast and Pacific Islands - will have the best visibility this year, due to the time zone.

The easiest way to find a shower is to look north for the Big Dipper - the distinctive cluster of seven bright stars and a useful navigation tool.

"An alternative name for the Quadrantids is the Bootids since the meteors appear to radiate from the modern constellation of Bootes", NASA explained. First seen in 1825, it originated from the small asteroid 1003 EH1, which was discovered in March 2003 by the Lowell Observatory to search for near-Earth objects. Asteroids are basically rocks orbiting the sun, but comets are very different.

"In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors".

Twinkle, twinkle, not so little star - or, in this case, meteors.

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