How and when to watch the first major meteor shower of 2020

Get away from cities to see what's really overhead

EXPAND Get away from cities to see what's really overhead. Nora Logue Colorado Parks and Wildlife

At that speed, they compress the air in their paths, causing the air to glow.

The Quadrantids Meteor Shower has already started, but its peak will be on January 3rd in the evening when stargazers will be able to watch the first shooting stars in 2020. The Quadrantids peak, on the other hand, is much shorter - only a few hours... When they don't show up right away, if you're cold and uncomfortable, you're not going to be looking for meteors for very long!

While meteors can be spotted everywhere in the sky, Ms. Patel advises to face northeast, toward the radiant, to catch as many of these shooting stars as possible.

This false-color image of a rare early Quadrantid was captured by a NASA meteor camera in 2010.

The Quadrantid meteor shower is relied upon to top Friday night into Saturday morning.

Most other meteor showers have a peak that lasts all night, or possibly even over a few days. According to, the first Quadrantids event was recorded in Europe in the 1820s and 1830s. You don't need to look at a specific section of the sky. So avid meteor watchers across the globe will be on the watch no matter what.

An expected 60-100 meteors per hour for at least three hours will dazzle those who are adventurous enough to courageous the chilly weather. These fireballs are also known to persist for longer periods than the average meteor streak.

The reason that the meteor shower is called quadrantids is that the fireballs appear to be coming from an obsolete constellation called Quadrans Muralis, which was created by French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795.

If you miss this display, the next impressive meteor shower - the Lyrids - will peak on April 21 and 22. Since this radar is located in the United Kingdom, it isn't the most ideal location during the peak, but will still pick up some Quadrantids during the night. As we've said before, meteor showers are like fishing.

This specific meteor shower happens when the Earth passes through the trail of Asteroid 2003 EH1. That makes this only one of two known meteor showers to originate from a rocky body!

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