.

Quadrantids Meteor Shower May Be Visible Online Only

Snow and expected cloud cover may foil plans to view the first meteor shower of 2013, which peaks early Thursday.

Don't blink, you might miss the first meteor shower of the year.

The high-powered Quadrantids meteor shower should peak just before dawn Thursday with a maximum number of meteors per hour of about 80-120. Forecasters there say the best viewing times will be between 4 to 5 a.m. Thursday. 

In addition, the meteor shower is expected to "last only a few hours," according to NASA.com. But fear not, stargazers, NASA has also set up a live video feed of the shower, using a camera mounted at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. 

The meteors are believed to be a piece comet that broke apart centuries ago. The fragments will enter the Earth's atmosphere at 90,000 mph, burning up 50 miles above Earth's surface, according to NASA.

Alas, according to Fox 6 Weather, a weak low pressure frontal system approaches Wednesday night, increasing temps ahead of the system and also increasing the clouds overnight. Scattered flurries and a few light snow showers are also expected.

If clouds and snow don't obscure the meteor shower, the glowing moon may outshine it. The meteor shower is peaking while the moon is in its bright gibbous phase, according to Space.com.

Viewing tips from NASA:

  • To view Quadrantids, go outside and allow your eyes 30-45 minutes to adjust to the dark.
  • Look straight up, allowing your eyes to take in as much of the sky as possible.
  • You will need cloudless, dark skies away from city lights to see the shower.

Like most meteor showers, Quadrantids is named for the constellation from which it appears to radiate. However, Quadrantids' constellation no longer exists. The constellation Quadrans Muralis, or Mural Quadrant, was created by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795 and was located between the constellations of Bootes the Herdsman and Draco the Dragon.

When the International Astronomical Union devised a list 88 modern constellations in 1922, it did not include Quadrans Muralis. So the meteor shower retained its name, though the constellation was rendered obsolete.

These days, Quadrantids radiates from an area inside the constellation Boötes, near the Big Dipper.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something