(Quadrantid meteor shower/EarthSky.org)

Just days after New Years Eve fireworks grace the skies, skywatchers in Canada will be treated to the first meteor shower of 2020.

The lesser known Quadrantid meteor shower will be visible across North America on the nights of January 3rd and 4th.

According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, Europe is likely to get the best view but stargazers in Canada can also catch some meteors in their build-up to the peak.

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Peak activity for the Quadrantids is expected to take place at 6 p.m. PST on January 4th, which means the best viewing hours will be overnight on January 3rd and 4th, and the most meteors can be seen just before dawn.

The Quadrantids are lesser known than meteor showers like the Geminids or Orionids because they tend to be more faint, but can still produced bright fireballs with long tails.

According to Space.com, the Quadrantids originate from the asteroid 2003 EH1 which is likely extinct, meaning all the ice on the comet has evaporated.

To catch the meteor shower, face a little away from the radiant in the constellation Bootes. The easiest way to find this is to find the Big Dipper, then follow the ‘arc’ of its handle to the red giant star Arcturus which anchors the bottom of Bootes.

Dark, clear skies are necessary to be able to see this meteor shower, which may take place at a rate of 25 meteors per hour during off-peak hours.


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