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Tonight's Meteor Shower Could Be Worth a Peek

With luck, North Americans could see 30 to 40 per hour
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2019 9:45 AM CST
A meteor streaks across the sky during the 2012 Geminid meteor shower over Springville, Ala.   (Mark Almond/AL.com via AP, File)

(Newser) – The Quadrantid meteor shower occurring annually in the first week of January is one of the few to produce more than 100 meteors per hour. Excited? Curb your enthusiasm. The display, set to peak around 10pm EST or 7pm PST on Thursday, is also one of the shortest-lived displays—"we're in and out in a little more than 6 hours," per Sky & Telescope—meaning not everyone in the world will get a good glimpse. Though residents of Europe and parts of Central Asia can expect to see 60 to 120 meteors per hour fanning from the constellation Quadrans Muralis near the handle of the Big Dipper, per Space.com, North Americans will have a poor view, with the meteor radiant appearing low above the northern horizon.

It's still worth a look, of course. Though 60% of meteors will be outside the field of view, 30 to 40 per hour might still be seen if there are clear skies, reports the Washington Post. Those that do appear will be visible longer than other meteors as the Quadrantids travel more slowly, but are also dimmer. Per Space.com, outbursts of meteors may also be spotted outside of peak viewing times, when North America will be in a better position. (Read more meteor shower stories.)

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