Jan 03, 2015 06:05 PM EST
While the near full moon will interfere with the sights in the sky tonight, astronomers say that stargazers will still be able to see the first meteor shower of 2015 this weekend, with the arrival of the "Quadrantids".
The Quadrantid meteor shower, named after the constellation in the sky from where the meteors radiate, will reach its peak tonight, Saturday Jan. 3, and while this shower is quite prolific, catching a glimpse is a bit more precise than other showers. Known to produce as many bright meteors during its peak as other famous showers, such as the Perseids or the Gemini, the Quadrantid meteor shower's peak time is actually far narrower than many others of its kind.
"Past observations allow us to predict that the 2015 Quadrantid meteor shower will peak on the night of Jan. 3 at 9pm EST" researchers at space.com say. "During this time, the radiant will be close to the norther horizon and there is a good chance of seeing 'Earth-grazers' - meteors coming in close to the horizon to the east and west."
As the night progresses, researchers estimate that the radiant will rise in the northeaster sky increasing visibility in the east. But by the time the radiant will be highest in the sky, the peak of the shower and most of its prolific meteors will have passed.
Astronomers says that the best time for stargazers to catch a glimpse of the Quadrantids will be between midnight and 2am based on your local time, as the night's sky will be at its darkest. And they also suggest that those who can, move farther out of big cities to avoid conflicting light pollution, which also makes them difficult to see.
Ever wonder where the Quadrantids received their name? Since there is no constellation named Quadrans, many are left pondering the origins of the Quandratids. But as it so happens, the once was a constellation known as "Quadrans Muralis", the Wall Quadrant, which was later incorporated into the Boötes constellation in 1922. And since the meteor showers had already been documented, the name Quadrantids remained.
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