One of the year’s most astonishing meteor showers can be seen tonight

meteor shower

You can witness the phenomenon tonight between midnight and dawn

Every year, a meteor shower called the ‘Quadrantids’ can be witnessed in the first quarter of the new year. According to CNET, the Quadrantids are among the strongest meteor showers but they can be tricky to spot. That is because they can only be seen under certain circumstances and at a certain time. Find out when and how you can see this spectacular meteor shower.

Quadrantids meteor shower

The Earth circles around the sun and while taking a ‘space stroll’ around the star that provides us with daylight, the Earth runs into debris. This debris comes from asteroids, and grains of this debris falls into the atmosphere of the Earth. Because these dust grains fall into the Earth’s atmosphere at a certain speed, the air around these grains causes friction. This makes the debris disintegrate. The disintegration results in the lights we see in the sky when there’s a meteor shower.

When you take a stroll around the block, you always pass the same buildings and greenery. It works the same for the Earth moving around the sun. Whenever the Earth passes the same spot in space, it will run into more of the same debris from the same astroid, causing certain meteor showers to appear every year. The Quadrantids are one of these showers that happen every year in January.

How to witness it

If you want to see the Quadrantids this year, there are two things to keep in mind. According to CNET it all depends on your location and the brightness of the moon. The meteor shower is called a “Northern Hemisphere shower” by Inverse, meaning that it can be seen when you’re located on the Northern Hemisphere. The best spot to spot it, is when you look for the Big Dipper’s handle and focus your gaze on the end of it. Close to the North Star is where the meteor shower seems to be best visible. Light pollution can limit your viewing experience and the brightness of the moon could also provide a challenge. Because there will be a nearly-Full Moon tonight, the streaks of light can be harder to distinguish when staring at the sky. The best time to spot the shower is “between 3:40 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. UTC on Jan. 4 (7:40 p.m. to 10:40 p.m. PT on Tuesday)” according to CNET.

If you really want to go all out, you can find a spot outside of the city with no lights and a clear view of the sky. Lay on your back and take some time to get used to the darkness so your eyes can adjust. If you’re lucky, you can see more than sixty meteors per hour. And it might be worth the trouble: there won’t be another meteor shower until April.

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Source: CNET, Inverse | Image: Unsplash, Austin Human