Catch a glimpse of this year’s first major astronomical event.
Tonight space lovers are in for a treat, as the year is starting off with one of the first major meteor showers of 2018, the Quadrantids, visible to the naked eye on January 3.
The Quadrantid meteor shower runs from December 22 through January 17, but the shower will have a sharp peak tonight, January 3rd, allowing viewers to see up to 40 meteors per hour. According to Space.com, most meteors will be visible in the last hour before dawn on January 4th.
Stargazers hoping to get a peek at the spectacular show should be aware that since the Full Wolf moon has been so bright over the past few days, the moon’s light may outshine most of the meteors, leaving only the brightest visible.
Still, viewers hoping to catch a glimpse of the shooting stars do not need to use binoculars or telescopes—the magnificent shower should be visible just by looking up at the sky. Space.com suggests finding the darkest sky possible (stay away from areas of high light pollution), and giving your eyes around 20-30 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Viewers will be able to see the shower if they orient themselves towards the Big Dipper, and then follow the handle until they see Arcturus, the star that anchors the bottom of the constellation Bootes.
If everything cosmos fascinates you, check out our easy tricks to becoming an amateur stargazer.