One of the brightest meteor showers, the Quadrantids, will be visible after 2 am on Wednesday. The meteor shower will see approximately 80 shooting stars per hour at a velocity is 41 km per second, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said.
The Quadrantids meteor shower is active every year between December 28 and January 12. With the new moon starting from January 2, stargazers have the opportunity to view the meteor shower with no bright moonlight to hinder visibility.
What is Quadrantid meteor shower?
Unlike other meteor showers that originate from comets, the Quadrantids comes from an asteroid named 2003 EH1. It takes the asteroid 2003 EH1 about 5.52 years to orbit the sun. When the broken particles of the asteroid come closer to the sun, they leave a dusty trail around their orbits, which collide with the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up, creating a blazing shower.
The meteor shower is named after the constellation Quadrans Muralis (Mural Quadrant), which is now defunct. The shower was first noted to be emanating from this constellation.
According to Nasa, the Quadrantids persist longer than an average meteor streak because the fireballs in this meteor shower originate from larger particles of material.
The Quadrantids also has a shorter peak than most meteors, which could last for two days. The Quadrantids peak for a few hours because the shower has a thin stream of particles and the Earth crosses that stream at a perpendicular angle, Nasa said.
When to watch the meteor shower
The meteor shower will peak at 2:10 am IST or 20:40 GMT on January 5, the SETI Institute said. The best view will be available in the northern hemisphere during the night and before sunrise.
Telescopes and binoculars are not required to view the meteor shower.
How to watch the shower?
It is best to watch the meteor shower away from the pollution of the city in a safe empty field or from the terrace of a house. Viewers need to allow their eyes to get adjusted to the darkness for 20 to 30 minutes.
The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0 will capture the shower from Rome and run a live stream at 5:15 am IST tomorrow morning.