The skies will be celebrating the New Year too, by putting on a spectacular display of lights later tonight. One of 2017's best meteor showers will peak Wednesday or Thursday in North America, and those living west of the Mississippi River will have the best viewing opportunity.
2016's Major Meteor Showers Were Washed Out By The Supermoon
December marked multiple beautiful sky events. There 's the Geminid and the Ursid meteor showers, but the number of showers expected was diminished because of the supermoon. This time, though, the meteor shower will be especially brighter because the Moon is just a waxing crescent and only partially illuminated.
According to Science Alert, this annual meteor shower is said to be triggered by Earth passing through the tail of rubble that follows behind the small Solar System body 2003 EH1. When the little pieces of debris and space dust burn up in Earth's atmosphere, they cause meteor showers, and stargazers can expect to see up to 100 every hour.
Quadrantids Meteor Shower Is Only Visible In The Northern Hemisphere
The shooting stars originate near the northern star formation, the Big Dipper, so the Quadrantids meteor shower may only be visible from the Northern Hemisphere and it will peak tonight. Space.com said that tonight's sky event will only last a few hours, and only the western half of North America may see it. Maximum activity is expected at around 1400 GMT on Tuesday; that corresponds to 9 a.m. Eastern Time, 6 a.m. Pacific Time.
People who live east of North America can still see the Quadrantids but they will probably see about 30 to 60 meteors per hour. If you are in Asia, best to look to the skies after midnight on the morning of January 4. Slooh online observatory will do live streaming for the benefit of those living in places where the shower is not very visible.