Meteors, blood moon, Mercury’s crossing coming to Southwest’s sky

Pat Wise
January 6, 2019

The meteor shower will hit its peak at about midnight, with meteors raining down on Earth until dawn.

Meteor showers usually occur when particles of comet debris enter our atmosphere and burn up, appearing as shooting stars.

The Quadrantids are somewhat unpredictable, but can have a maximum rate of about 120 per hour, varying between 60 and 200 meteors per hour.

Compared to other meteor showers such as Geminids or Orionids, the Quadrantids can be harder to observe due to their small peak time. The Quadrantids aren't known for producing fireballs, but could still generate some extremely bright meteors, he notes.

According to CNN, the Quadrantid meteor shower is set to peak Thursday night going into Friday morning.

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Whether you live there or are willing to make the venture be sure to head down to the Southern Hemisphere to witness the spectacle of a total solar eclipse. The shower favors Europe this year, with the highest activity predicted for about 2 a.m. GMT on January 4.

He continues by saying that in 2003, an astronomer by the name of Peter Jenniskens "tentatively identified" the parent body of the Quadrantids as rocky-bodied asteroid 2003 EH1, as opposed to an icy comet.

Even if you only catch the shower at an off-peak moment, the rates of about 25 meteors per hour are still expected.

Find an open area with a wide view of the sky, and don't forget to bundle up. Lie flat on your back with feet facing northeast and look up at the sky - it should take less than 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark.

If you miss the meteor shower, you can check out the super blood wolf moon at the end of the month on the 21st.

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