Year's First Meteor Shower Could Be Its Best

Quadrantid meteor shower peaks around 3am ET tomorrow

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 3, 2012 12:42 PM CST

(Newser) – The new year starts off with what is expected to be one of the best meteor showers of 2012: For those watching in North America early tomorrow morning, 60 to 200 meteors will streak by per hour during the Quadrantid meteor shower. According to CNN, NASA pegs the perfect viewing time at around 3am local time, but adds that the viewing window will only last for a few hours. Space.com recommends 2:30am ET for those watching in eastern North America; they'll have the best chance of seeing the shower.

"After hundreds of years orbiting the sun, [the Quadrantid meteors] will enter our atmosphere at 90,000mph, burning up 50 miles above Earth's surface," says a NASA press release. Space.com notes that the Quadrantids can be unpredictable and difficult to observe due to the brevity of their period of peak intensity, but all signs point to tomorrow's show being a great display.

A meteor streaks across the sky against a field of stars during a meteorite shower early August 13, 2010 near Grazalema, southern Spain.    AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO
A meteor streaks across the sky against a field of stars during a meteorite shower early August 13, 2010 near Grazalema, southern Spain. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO   (Getty Images)
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