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Meteor Shower Will Light Up Sky With Hundreds Of Shooting Stars An Hour This Weekend

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 31 Dec 2020 15:45
Meteor Shower Will Light Up Sky With Hundreds Of Shooting Stars An Hour This WeekendMeteor Shower Will Light Up Sky With Hundreds Of Shooting Stars An Hour This WeekendPA

2020 was a good year for stargazers, unfortunately that can’t be said for many others things.

Luckily, as we gleefully throw 2020 in the bin where it belongs, 2021 seems set to carry on the impressive displays that have been gracing our night skies.

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Early January will be starting strong with the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower, dubbed the ‘best annual meteor shower’ by NASA no less, between January 2 and 3.

Meteor Shower Will Light Up Sky With Hundreds Of Shooting Stars An Hour This WeekendMeteor Shower Will Light Up Sky With Hundreds Of Shooting Stars An Hour This WeekendPA

The Quadrantids are, of course, a yearly occurrence, usually taking place between December 28 and January 12, though this year they’re peaking early in the new year.

The impressive display was first observed in 1825, but it wasn’t until 2003 that scientists at the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search discovered the meteor shower originates from a small asteroid known as asteroid 1003 EH1.

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‘An alternative name for the Quadrantids is the Bootids since the meteors appear to radiate from the modern constellation of Bootes,’ NASA told CBS News. ‘Even though the constellation may no longer be recognized, it was considered a constellation long enough to give the meteor shower its name.’

Perseid meteor showerPerseid meteor showerPA Images

The Quadrantids will mark the end of the stargazing season for a while, as a few months of little celestial activity will follow. However, on Saturday night, January 2, and into Sunday morning, there will be a period of around six hours in which anything between 60 to 200 meteors per hour, travelling at more than 25 miles per second, will be visible.

The meteor shower is best seen from the Northern Hemisphere, will be especially good in places with little or no cloud cover, and is expected to peak just before dawn (UTC) on Sunday morning.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Science, Asteroid, Meteor Shower, Meteors, Space

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CBS News
  1. CBS News

    The first meteor shower of 2021 will illuminate the night sky on New Year's weekend