First meteor shower of the year peaks Thursday night

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Quadrantid meteor shower: Which parts of the US will have favorable viewing conditions?

It's written in the stars!

The Quadrantids meteor showers have already been shooting across the skies since December 22, and will continue until January 17.

According to CNN, the Quadrantid meteor shower is set to peak Thursday night going into Friday morning. The shower will be short-lived and last around six hours, according to Sky and Telescope.

The meteor shower will hit its peak at about midnight, with meteors raining down on Earth until dawn.

In flawless conditions, observers have seen anywhere from 60 to 100 meteors per hour in this particular shower, though the viewing window is notoriously short.

Those in the Northern Hemisphere have the best chance of seeing them, especially if they're in a dark moonless area.

"The name Quadrantids comes from the constellation Quadrans Muralis (Mural Quadrant), created by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795", wrote Bruce McClure on EarthSky. Meteors originate from leftover comet particles and bits of broken asteroids.

EarthSky, at https://earthsky.org/, says meteors will come from the northern sky with the radiant point making a right angle with the Big Dipper and the star Arcturus. But skywatchers may still get a good look at meteors spawned by 2003 EH1, an asteroid that's possibly a "rock comet", which is a space object that acts like a cross between an asteroid and a comet.

"The lower natural light pollution will make it easier to see more meteors, but light pollution from cities and highways can still interfere with viewing", AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada said. Lie flat on your back with feet facing northeast and look up at the sky - it should take less than 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Binoculars are also helpful for getting a better glimpse of the cosmos.

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