The Quadrantids meteor shower is set to light up skies above the UK tonight, with the annual show reaching its peak this evening.
Known for its blue meteors and fireballs, the Quadrantids are one of the most dazzling meteor showers of the year, producing between 50 to 120 shooting stars an hour in ideal conditions.
As with last month’s Geminid shower, the display is set to be visible to the naked eye, provided you’re somewhere with clear skies and little light pollution. Conditions are expected to be particularly good for viewing the shower tonight thanks to the recent new moon, which means the sky is set to be near its darkest in the lunar cycle.
According to Astronomy Today, the Quadrantids can be seen in the northeastern sky, in the Boötes constellation, however for the best view astronomers advise stargazers to look slightly away from the Quadrantids radiants.
The Quadrantids are thought to appear when the Earth passes through the remains of the near-Earth asteroid (196256) 2003 EH1, which astronomers have linked to the Ch’ing-yang event of 1490 – a presumed meteor shower recorded in China in which many people were reported to have been killed, and which may possibly have been caused by the disintegration of the comet – though this has not been confirmed.
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