This is definitely something to be looking out for this weekend.
Here's all you need to know to be able to watch...
We're mere hours away from finally leaving this terrible year...And people couldn't be more excited!
And it seems that there's going to be something equally as exciting in the skies this weekend!
via: GettyThe first meteor shower of 2021 is set to light up our skies and NASA has described it as one of the "best annual meteor showers" there is.
But, first thing's first...
via: GettyWhat exactly is a meteor shower?
Meteors are actually leftover particles of comet dust.
via: GettyAnd they're often referred to as "shooting stars" because of the strikingly dazzling mark they leave in our skies.
The dust and debris "light up" when they hit our earth's atmosphere...
via: GettyAnd that's how we're able to see them from such a vast distance.
But, out of all the different types of meteor showers...
via: GettyThe Quadrantid meteor showers certainly reign supreme.
Quadrantids are known for bright fireball meteors...
via: GettyAnd they get their name from the former constellation Quadrans Muralis which is now part of Boötes.
And right now...It's peak Quadrantid season!
According to NASA, the Quadrantids return each year between December 28 and January 12.
via: GettyFirst seen in 1825, they originate from the small asteroid 1003 EH1, which was discovered in March 2003 by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search.
The meteors appear to radiate from a constellation that no longer exists, called "Quadrans Muralis," but that constellation is not the actual source of the meteors."An alternative name for the Quadrantids is the Bootids since the meteors appear to radiate from the modern constellation of Bootes," NASA said. "Even though the constellation may no longer be recognized, it was considered a constellation long enough to give the meteor shower its name."
So, when exactly will we be able to see this incredible phenomenon?
via: GettyDuring the brief window from Saturday night into Sunday morning, there is a chance to spot between 60 to 200 meteors per hour traveling at 25.5 miles per second.
But despite the shower's potential...It will be brief: the window of maximum activity is just 6 hours.
Thankfully, NASA is on hand to explain why.
And where exactly is the best location to watch these showers?
Even if the skies are clear of clouds...
via: GettyA nearly full waning gibbous moon is expected to continue to shine brightly throughout the weekend, making meteor-spotting tricky.
Unlike many other popular meteor showers, which peak over several nights, timing your viewing of the Quadrantids is essential to spotting meteors.
via: GettyAccording to the International Meteor Organization, the peak is expected to occur around 14:30 UTC on Sunday - meaning the best chance to view the shower in North America will be in the predawn hours of Sunday morning.
Like all meteor showers, you will want to get away from all bright city lights for the best viewing...And you'll need to be lying flat on your back and giving your eyes about thirty minutes to adjust to the dark.
Make sure to be wrapped up properly for the cold...And the most important piece of advice is to be patient. The show will last until dawn.
After the Quadrantids, another meteor shower won't occur for more than 3 months...
via: GettyAnd the Lyrids and the Eta Aquariids will make a return at the end of April.