The imminent Quadrantid meteor shower, the annual cascade of shooting stars produced by the debris stream from asteroid 2003 EH1, will be a stunner, astronomers predicted.
According to U.S. space agency NASA, the Quadrantid meteor shower will peak in the pre-dawn hours of Monday, January 4, 2016, as the debris stream from asteroid 2003 EH1 will enter Earth’s atmosphere.
Usually, the Quadrantids take place in early January and peak around Jan. 3 or 4, producing up to 100 or even more shooting stars per hour. It is the first major annual meteor shower of the year.
National Geographic reported, “Peak rates this morning will range anywhere from 60 to 120 shooting stars per hour from a dark location. The meteors will appear to radiate from the northeast sky, just off the handle of the Big Dipper.”
Sky & Telescope predicted that the Quadrantids in early January and the Perseids in August would be the two best meteor showers in 2016. It said the Quadrantids would be “brief but active” showers. It predicted the number of shooting stars at up to 200 per hour.
Astronomers suggest that the best time for watching the Quadrantid meteor shower will be from midnight to pre-dawn period. However, watching the Quadrantids would oblige people to dare the unpleasantly cold conditions.