Published: Sat, January 05, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

First meteor shower of 2019 to peak Thursday night

First meteor shower of 2019 to peak Thursday night

The first meteor shower of 2019 will peak later this week for stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere (including those in Qatar) as the Quadrantids (January meteor showers) dart through the January night sky.

During flawless conditions, anywhere from 60 to over 100 meteors per hour can be seen during the peak, they report.

The Quadrantid meteor showers are known for being slow-moving and colorful, including green, yellow, pink and light blue.

Expect to see about 80 meteors per hour, but there could be as many as 200.

Mid- and far-north latitudes will have the best chance to see the peak, which lasts only a few hours.

Whether you live there or are willing to make the venture be sure to head down to the Southern Hemisphere to witness the spectacle of a total solar eclipse. That's because the Quadrantids' namesake constellation no longer exists - at least, not as a recognized constellation.

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Compared to other meteor showers such as Geminids or Orionids, the Quadrantids can be harder to observe due to their small peak time. The Orionid meteor shower derives its name from the constellation Orion.

Like the Geminid meteor shower, the Quadrantid comes from a mysterious asteroid or "rock comet", rather than an icy comet, which is unusual.

The shower's short peak is because only a small stream of particles interacts with our atmosphere, and the stream occurs at a perpendicular angle. Their prominent position in the sky near the Big Dipper means it's easier to catch, but unlike other famous showers these last only a few hours.

You'll be able to see them with the naked eye if you stand in a dark spot away from street lights.

The Quadrantids meteor shower is not the only astronomical event taking place this month.

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