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First Meteor Shower of 2016: The Quadrantids Are Greatly Expected

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Are you an avid sky watcher? Then you probably know about the important event that’s about to light up the horizon this weekend – the Quadrantid meteor showers.

Even though some might find it tiring to patiently stick around to see them, only good things come to those who wait, right? Right indeed, because the sights will be stunning. As the first meteor shower to appear this year, the Quadrantids are greatly expected, but there’s one peculiarity that will set them apart from others.

Instead of being the result of comet debris that burns up as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere, the shiny debris that we will see in the sky originates from the newly-discovered being 2003 EHI. We refer to it as a “being” because scientists have yet to agree if it is a minor planet, an asteroid, or a dead comet.

After six year of theorizing over its existence, scientists finally confirmed the being in 2003, and the Quadrantids’ appearance was one of the major factors that helped scientists legitimize 2003 EHI.

Seeing that the Quadrantids have a rather peculiar source, the meteors are expected to endure a bit longer and their unusual sturdiness may cause them to leave longer trails. Astronomers also say they are prone to burn brighter than other meteor showers.

NASA also predicts an active apparition of this year’s Quadrantid meteor showers, with rates of 80 meteors per hour at 25 miles per second. So why are the Quadrantids so difficult to spot, if they their abundance and their comparatively slow speed?

Well, compared to the majority of meteor showers that last up to a few days, the Quadrantids’ peak only lasts for a few hours. This year, the shower will begin on Sunday night, January 3, and will be visible through the early morning of Monday. Its peak is expected to range from about 3 a.m. to the first light of the day.

Therefore, all those who plan to stay awake through the night to watch the shower should prepare. If you wait and wait and they don’t appear right away, you might become cold and uncomfortable.

So make a warm cocoa or coffee in advance so you can take the edge off the chill; plus, you will need the slight stimulus. Gather some friends for the event: it’s easier to cover more sky. Good luck enjoying the meteor show(er)!
Image Source: Christian Today

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