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Quadrantids meteor shower: When and where to look in Arizona to see them (but you'd better be quick)

Posted: 10:58 AM, Jan 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-03 23:50:26Z
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PHOENIX — One of the first meteor showers of the year is set to peak Thursday evening and it looks like weather conditions in Phoenix will be in our favor to see them; just make sure to find a dark spot away from city lights for optimal viewing!

Here is what you need to know for the best chance at seeing some fireballs shoot across the sky.

Tonight, experts say the Quadrantids meteor shower will hit its peak around 7 p.m. Arizona time (9 p.m. EDT), which could result in as many as 60-200 meteors crossing the sky each hour. Though, that is under "perfect" conditions.

In Phoenix, the sun will set at 5:33 p.m., which means the skies will be dark enough, and the forecast calls for clear skies. Temperatures will be chilly so make sure to bundle up!

VIEWING TIPS

  • Find a spot away from city lights and street lights.
  • Be prepared to wait. Bring a sleeping bag, lawn chair and bundle up.
  • Lie flat on your back and have your feet face northeast; then look up.
  • It may take your eyes up to 30 minutes to adjust to the night sky
  • Your eyes are the best equipment. No need for telescopes, binoculars or cameras.

The Quadrantids meteor shower is typically active between December 28 - Jan. 12 and is "considered to be one of the best annual meteor showers," according to NASA's website .

Unlike other meteor showers which have two-day peaks, Quandrantids peak is shorter, lasting a few hours. That is "due to the shower's thin stream of particles and the fact that the Earth crosses the stream at a perpendicular angle," according to NASA .

At the same time, Quandrantids meteors are also known for having bright fireballs and long tails, according to EarthSky.org .

The Quandrantids originate from an asteroid -- asteroid 2003 EH1 -- which was discovered on March 6, 2003 by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search, according to NASA . It is considered to be a small asteroid with a diameter of two-miles across.

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