Quadrantid Meteor Shower set to light up sky on intervening night of January 3-4 (Representational Image) (Photo Credit: zjxte/Pixabay.com)
Quadrantid Meteor Shower: The beginning of the new year is all set to bring a rejoice for stargazers across the world as shooting stars will rain down from the heavens and illuminate the night sky. It is to be noted that the first meteor shower of 2020 has already begun in Canada’s Vancouver, but its peak is set to take place at the start of January. Yes, you read it right. Quadrantid meteor shower is active from December 27 to January 17 in Vancouver, however, its peak is on the intervening night of January 3-4. If you want to witness the intense, short bursts of meteors that last only a few hours, then you will have to travel all the way to Vancouver.
Importantly, the meteors are believed to be caused when our planet crosses the orbital path of Comet 96P/Machholz. Also, when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it vaporizes and turns into a meteor. Well, this is what we see as a streak of light in the sky. Meteors are sometimes mistaken as shooting stars but they are just tiny pieces of rock. There are few things more beautiful than watching a shooting star streak across the sky.
Coming back to the Quadrantid meteor shower, it will take place at around 09:00 PST. According to a report of in-the-sky.org, the shower will produce at a rate of 120 meteors per hour this year. The site further said, "The radiant point culminates (is highest in the sky) after dawn – at around 09:00 PST – and so the shower is likely produce its best displays shortly before dawn, when its radiant point is highest."
How to spot meteors in the sky during a shower
A major misconception with meteor showers is you should focus on a certain part of the sky to see shooting stars. Well, the fact is that meteors arrive in all areas of the sky, not just near the radiant point. Stargazers should watch meteor showers in areas away from the beaming Moon.