Published: Sat, January 04, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

First major meteor shower of 2020 expected to happen tonight

First major meteor shower of 2020 expected to happen tonight

When those bits of dust and rock hit Earth's atmosphere, they disintegrate and create the bright "falling stars" that are visible from the ground. At that speed, they compress the air in their paths, causing the air to glow.

Stargazers, get yourself in position as a spectacular meteor shower is expected to be seen in UAE skies on Friday night. For a good view of the meteor showers, the space agency advises in a statement, "Lie flat on your back with your feet facing northeast and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible".

Unlike most meteor showers which originate from comets, it is believed the Quadrantids originate from an asteroid called 2003 EH1, which takes around five-and-a-half years to orbit the Sun. In 1795, the French astronomer Jerome Lalande named a group of stars for their likeness to a quadrant, the instrument used to pinpoint the location of stars. But unlike most of the meteor shower, this meteor shower will not have a peak time of a few days; it will have just a peak time of a few hours.

This false-color image of a rare early Quadrantid was captured by a NASA meteor camera in 2010. In 1795, French astronomer Jerome Lalande named a group of stars due to their resemblance to a quadrant, the instrument used to determine the location of stars.

The shower is technically visible now through January 10th; however, the most meteors are expected to be visible around 3:20 am ET this evening. It also recommends that serious watchers keep an eye out for at least an hour since the shower will have a number of peaks and valleys to observe. Additionally, tonight will be dark with no moon after midnight, so it will be ideal for stargazing.

The Quadrantids arrive every year in the first week of January. "You wait, you watch ... sometimes you catch something".

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On the big night, the moon will be 58 percent full and skywatchers can expect to see an average of 25 meteors per hour. For example, there were cloudy conditions across southern Ontario for the 2019 Quadrantids, but the University of Toronto Scarborough all-sky cam still captured several fireball meteors over the area in the early morning hours.

One point we haven't mentioned yet is the situation regarding the moon.

The Quadrantid meteor shower is known for its bright fireball meteors with glowing tails.

This sample image from MeteorScan.com shows multiple meteor detections at 21:19 UTC on December 13, 2019.

Dr. Beshir Marzouk added: "The observing of meteor shower does not need astronomical instruments, so that Qatar residents and the countries of all Northern Hemisphere residents can see Quadrantid meteor showers with naked eye from places without light and environment pollution", he added. That makes this only one of two known meteor showers to originate from a rocky body!

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