The Quadrantid meteor shower creates dazzling night sky

You Can Kick Off 2021 By Watching The First Meteor Shower Of The Year This Weekend

The first major meteor shower of 2021 is set to peak this weekend, from late Saturday until the dark, pre-dawn hours of Sunday. These are always worth looking out for, with space agencies such as NASA recognising the Quadrantids as one of the year's best meteor showers.

The Quadrantids are a shooting star show known to reliably peak at the start of January every year. In addition to being the first of the year, they're also some of the best, according to NASA, thanks to coming in swiftly (at a rate of 60 to 200 meteors per hour), and because they are bright fireballs that often come colourful trails. Fireballs are larger explosions of light and color that can persist longer than an average meteor streak.

The Quadrantids aren't an ordinary meteor shower. While the origins of these meteors might be somewhat mysterious, they will nonetheless be colliding with our atmosphere and burning up in spectacular fashion.

"It's going to peak around 4 a.m. Toronto time on January 3 and the best time to see these without the moon is before dawn", said Vaughan, a public outreach and education specialist with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), Toronto Centre.

This is now a long-obsolete star pattern, named in 1795 by JJ Lalande in recognition of the astronomical instrument used to observe the stars.

Quadrantids are either comet particles or broken asteroids. Asteroid 2003 EH1 takes 5.52 years to orbit the sun once.

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

You'll want to avoid light pollution as much as possible and find a place to watch with good weather, a broad view of the sky and the ability to orient your gaze away from the bright moon as much as you can. "By facing this direction you are able to see meteors shoot out of the radiant in all directions". "Be patient-the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse", NASA added.



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