The Remains of a Fine Meteor

If you happen to be awake in the wee hours of the morning Wednesday, January 4th, bundle up and take a little lie down outside.  According to NASA, a Quadrantids meteor shower will be visible in the northern hemisphere.

What does that mean for us?  Beginning around 3:30 a.m. we will be able to see between 60-200 shooting stars per hour.  NASA recommends that you lie flat on your back on a blanket (brrrr) or a chair and give yourself 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust before you expect to see any shooting stars.  After that, you’ll see the skeletal remains of a rocky formation that went extinct long ago.  Originally part of asteroid 2003 EH1, the shooting stars in this meteor shower were once part of a constellation we can no longer see.  This constellation was named Quadrans Muralis by French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795.  What remains of this asteroid will scream past planet Earth tomorrow morning at a scorching 90,000 miles per hour.

Unlike other meteor showers, this one has a very short window, lasting only about 2 hours.  If you are interested in staying up (or getting up) to see the shooting stars, your best bet will be in more rural areas with fewer street lights and office buildings.