Celebrate surviving 2016 the cosmic way
Image via Pixabay
It’s official. We survived 2016 (for the most part). To celebrate this remarkable achievement, step outside on Tuesday night and look up to see nature’s version of a firework show. As the first meteor shower of the year, the Quadrantids will light up the sky from late Tuesday night, January 3, into early Wednesday morning, January 4. According to Space.com, meteors will be shooting across the sky at a rate of about 120 meteors per hour, an astronomical wonder you’ll be able to see clearly, thanks to the currently dim sliver of a moon.
Stargazers on the western side of North America will have the best seats in the world this year. To prevent gazing aimlessly for signs of a shooting star, pinpoint the shower by looking north for the Big Dipper and following the “handle” to find the general vicinity of the Quadrantids. The meteor shower will peak around 9 a.m. EST, so if you’re on the West Coast, you might want to set that alarm early to catch the best views by 6 a.m. While these meteors are somewhat fainter than their famous cousins, the Geminids, Quadrantids are unique in that they can form fireballs and tails that leave lingering marks on the night sky.
Then again, if you’re still recovering from New Year’s festivities and can’t see yourself waking up any earlier than you absolutely have to, have no fear. You can always set your alarms for April 16 when the Lyrids take over the night sky in a similarly spectacular fashion.