NEWS

Quadrantid meteor shower to peak overnight

01/02/2013 05:28 EST | Updated 03/04/2013 05:12 EST
Dedicated stargazers are gearing up for the peak of the 2013 Quadrantid meteor shower, which will be best viewed from the Earth’s northern hemisphere in the wee hours of Jan. 3, according to NASA — but this year a bright moon may hamper the celestial show.

The U.S. space agency notes that the gibbous moon, which will be more than half illuminated, will likely wash out fainter meteors. Also, the first shower of the year will only last a few hours, meaning timing will be key for eager observers.

The agency notes that the draw of the lesser-known meteor shower, named after extinct constellation Quadrans Muralis, is nonetheless an "excellent chance for hardy souls to start the year off with some late-night meteor watching."

This is especially true for those watching under cloudless, dark skies far away from the lights of the city. The meteor rates are expected to increase after midnight, says the agency, and peak between 3 a.m. and sunrise, local time.

NASA also advises those hoping to watch the shower to go outside 30 to 40 minutes before viewing time to allow their eyes to adjust to the dark. It's also best to look straight up to "take in as much of the sky as possible," says the agency.

Stream the shower live online

Those cut off from the night sky or weary of the cold may watch the Quadrantid shower online. A feed from a camera at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is embedded below and also visible here.

The feed will go live at approximately 6 p.m. ET., or 5 p.m. CT in Alabama.

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