Watch the Quadrantid meteor shower in early January
Astronomers at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) remind residents to check out the Quadrantid meteor shower in early January.
In 2018, the Quadrantids are predicted to reach a peak of about 120 meteors per hour, a good amount. But--since the moon will be close to full (there's a full supermoon on New Year's Night), moonlight will interfere with viewing fainter meteors.
The bright moonlight won't hide all the meteors, though, and those looking to spot the brightest Quadrantids should look after midnight in the east on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, radiating out from a point between the constellations of Hercules and Boötes.
You can watch anywhere you can see the eastern sky, but the best site is a from a dark location with good horizon views in all directions. Your own back yard will do in a pinch, but a place away from city lights is best.
Dress appropriately for a freezing cold January night, and pack water, snacks and hot drinks if you like. Lie down on a blanket or lie back in a camp chair, let your eyes adjust to the darkness, and enjoy the show.
Meteors result from particles of dust entering the upper atmosphere of the earth. Most meteor showers are caused by debris from comets, but a couple, like the Quadrantids, are known to originate from asteroids.
The particles that cause the Quadrantid meteor shower originate from the asteroid 2003 EH1.