One of the biggest meteor showers of the year is expected to peak over the next few days, producing over 100 meteoroids per hour, according to Space.com.
Known as the Quadrantid meteor shower, the spectacle happens only once a year, always around the beginning of January, according to Space.com. Under perfect conditions, between 60 and 200 meteors can be seen per hour, according to NASA. The activity range is from Dec. 26 to Jan. 16, but the peak lasts just six hours.
Different sources disagree on the precise date of the peak, with some saying it will be on between Sunday and Monday and others saying it will occur between Monday and Tuesday.
American Meteor Society says it will next peak on the night between Sunday and Monday, when spectators can get the clearest view because of the new moon.
Based on the International Meteor Organization’s 2022 Meteor Shower Calendar, the meteor shower is supposed to peak around 8:40 p.m. Universal Time on Monday in Eastern Asian longitudes of the northern hemisphere.
If you live in other parts of the world, you can find the best viewing moments for the meteor shower using a meteor-spotting tool developed by the Norwegian company Time and Date AS. The tool allows you to enter a date range along with a location, and see the times with the best visibility of the shower.
For example, if you live in New York City, you’ll experience excellent visibility at 11:43 p.m. EST on Monday, according to Time and Date. If you live in San Francisco, you can have excellent visibility on Tuesday at 5:48 a.m. PST, according to Time and Date.
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Observers should plan to watch for at least an hour to see the full extent of the meteor shower, says American Meteor Society. Otherwise, the watching period might coincide with a lull in activity, according to American Meteor Society.
Time and Date also recommends finding a secluded viewing spot, far away from the city lights. Allow some time (15 to 20 minutes) for your eyes to get used to the dark, says Time and Date.
The meteors that you may see are as small as a grain of sand or tiny rock. As they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they create a tail of debris as they disintegrate before reaching the ground. Meteorites that have made their way to the Earth’s surface are small pieces of an asteroid, some of which have been traced back to Mars and the moon.
Contributing: Doyle Rice and Janet Loehrke of USA TODAY
You can reach the author @michelle_shen10 on Twitter.
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