Saturday, 23 January, 2021


When is Norfolk's first meteor shower of 2021?

First meteor shower of 2021 Will illuminate the night sky on New Year’s weekend You Can Kick Off 2021 By Watching The First Meteor Shower Of The Year This Weekend
Kristine Garrett | 03 January, 2021, 16:41

Most meteor showers have a peak of two days, but the Quadrantids have a "peak" window of only six hours.

The Quadrantids meteor shower will peak overnight January 2. First observed in 1825, they start from the little asteroid 1003 EH1, which was found in March 2003 by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search.

Named after the now-defunct constellation of Quadrans Muralis, the Quadrantid meteor shower appears to radiate from near the constellation of Bootes beside the Big Dipper. However, it's still worth gazing to the heavens for a glimpse of the annual light show. It's appearance in the night sky may reduce visibility of the Quadrantids, but it's still worthwhile keeping an eye out for them, as they are considered one of the better annual meteor showers, according to NASA.

During its peak, around 200 Quadrantid meteors can be seen per hour if the sky is clear. Quadrantids are known for bright fireball meteors, which are larger explosions of light and color that last longer than the typical meteor streak.

Seeing the meteor shower may be a matter of luck this year, with Environment Canada calling for mostly cloudy skies and a chance of showers Saturday, Jan. 2 through Monday, Jan. 4.

NASA explains: "The reason the peak is so short is due to the shower's thin stream of particles and the fact that the Earth crosses the stream at a perpendicular angle".

The Quadrantids can be seen this weekend in the Northern Hemisphere, but weather and a full moon could make things tricky for some stargazers.

There's also the challenge of the waning gibbous moon, which will be 84% full tonight, making it harder to spot the less-prominent meteors.

The Quadrantids are particularly famed for their brighter-than-usual "fireball" meteors.

According to the International Meteor Organisation (IMO), the peak is expected to occur at around 14:30 GMT on Sunday, January 3.

The new year gets underway with the first meteor shower of 2021. Dress for winter climate and show restraint - the show will go on until dawn.

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