Jan 2 (): The first meteor shower of 2014, Quadrantid Meteor Shower, may just be the biggest and brightest that the upcoming year has to offer.
The Quadrantids, the last meteor shower of 2013 and the first of 2014 started on December 28, 2013 and is all set to peak on January 3. The meteor shower will continue through January 12. During the peak time, people would be able to see up to 80 meteors per hour.
The Quadrantids – also referred to as “the Quads” in hipster meteor watcher inner circles would peak on January 3rd around 19:30 Universal Time (UT) or 2:30 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST). Northern Asia region is the best place to watch the show, though all northern hemisphere observers are encouraged to watch past 11 PM local worldwide.
Even though January 3 will show the year’s most spectacular shooting stars, the nightfall on Thursday, January 2 could also show good display, as could the pre-dawn hours of January 4. The absence of moonlight is the main advantage behind this spectacular show.
The spectacular glowing will be located in the northern tip of the constellation Bootes that means only spectators residing in the northern hemisphere will be able to see this meteor shower in the night sky.
The US space agency, NASA says Quadrantids originate from an asteroid known as 2003 EH1. The meteors will enter our atmosphere at 90,000 miles per hour, burning 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. Earth passes through the debris stream that comprises this shower between January 1 and 10, but the actual peak is much shorter.
The Quadrantids get their name from the constellation of Quadrans Muralis (mural quadrant), which was created by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795, the space agency says.
EarthSky.org said the Quadrantid shower has a small peak that would last for only a few hours. One could easily miss the peak. They suggest a dark, open sky is really needed for a splendid show and one has to look in a general north-northeast direction for an hour or so before dawn.