First major meteor shower of 2020 expected to happen tonight

First major meteor shower of 2020 expected to happen tonight

The meteor shower should start around 3:00 a.m. EST. As Earth's orbit passes through the debris, the bits of rock and ice collide with the atmosphere and burn up, creating bright streaks in the night sky. At that speed, they compress the air in their paths, causing the air to glow.

In flawless conditions, however, 60 to 200 Quadrantid meteors can be seen per hour shooting across the skies.

Unlike the recent "ring of fire" solar eclipse, the Quadrantids are best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere during the night and early morning hours.

"Keep in mind that meteor showers are fickle".

Earth began its pass through the meteor system on December 28, 2019, and will continue its course through January 12 of this year, according to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), during which observers could spot up to 25 meteors per hour.

While the meteors can be spotted all over the sky, Ms Patel advises facing towards the north-east, in the direction of the radiant, to catch as many of these shooting stars as possible. Still, catching a meteor every minute is still very good!

The International Meteor Organization notes that the Quadrantids have the potential to be the strongest shower of the year, but due to commonly poor weather in early January, they might not be as powerful. The Quadrantids were first observed in 1825, but the asteroid wasn't discovered until March 2003 by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search (LONEOS).

The best places to watch from, based on cloud cover, appear to be a thin swath of Alberta in the lee of the Rockies, as well as in parts of southwestern Saskatchewan.

You won't need any special equipment, like telescopes or binoculars. There are other ways to watch this meteor shower, right from the comfort of your home. After this year's show, however, annual Quadrantids viewers will have to wait until 2028 to get visibility conditions as ideal as those happening on Saturday morning.

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

If you miss this display, the next impressive meteor shower - the Lyrids - will peak on April 21 and 22. As we've said before, meteor showers are like fishing. That makes this only one of two known meteor showers to originate from a rocky body!

The interesting thing about 2003 EH1 is that it may be an extinct or shattered comet.

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