The cosmic shower will be easier to spot this year thanks to the new moon
A meteor streaks past stars during the annual Quadrantid meteor shower in Qingdao © REUTERS/Stringer
The Quadrantid meteor shower will peak on the night of January 2 and into the early morning hours of the next day, and it could be one of the biggest of the year, officials say.
People will be able to top off their New Year’s celebrations by viewing what NASA is calling “one of the better meteor showers of the year.”
The Quadrantid meteor shower occurs at the beginning of the year and can produce “bright meteors” called fireballs that streak across the sky. The peak of this meteor shower coincides with the next new moon, which occurs the night before and makes the night sky darker, thereby enhancing the viewing experience.
After midnight, people should be able to see shooting stars in the night sky. This meteor shower will peak for only a handful of hours, sending dozens of meteors streaking through the sky every hour until about sunrise. READ MORE: China complains about near-misses with SpaceX satellites
Some meteors will be able to be seen here and there when the meteor shower is outside of its sharpest peak, with everything tapering off by January 12. For the best viewing experience, it is recommended to go to a dark area away from city lights.
“You should be able to see a few meteors on a couple of nights before and after as well,” NASA said. The meteors will come from the constellation Bootes, near the Big Dipper. The source is believed to be what may be an “extinct comet,” called asteroid 2003 EH1.