The first meteor shower of 2021 peaks this weekend.
Normally, NASA describes the Quadrantids as one of the best annual meteor showers and it’s known for bright fireball meteors. However, a couple obstacles may make it hard for stargazers to watch this celestial event this year.
Most meteor showers have a two-day peak, which makes catching a glimpse of shooting stars more possible, but NASA says the Quadrantids’ peak is much shorter – only a few hours.
For observers in the northern hemisphere, the Quadrantids meteor shower will peak at about 14:30 UTC on Sunday, or 9:30 a.m. EST, according to the International Meteor Organization.
That’s during daylight, so the best bet to see the meteor shower will be before, in the early morning hours Sunday, when the rate of meteors is a bit lower than at the peak.
Another obstacle in seeing the meteor shower will be the moon. It was full this week and it will remain bright in the night sky this weekend, likely overshadowing the brightness of the meteor display.
Space.com reports that this meteor shower will be at its best just before the break of dawn, about 6 a.m. local time. Those in the western U.S. may have better luck than those in the east.
As always, if you’re wanting to spot a meteor shower, it’s best to get away from any bright city lights, lay flat on your back and give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark.