The new year's first meteor shower, the Quadrantids, has been predicted to peak at 4 p.m. EST on Jan. 3 and last before the dawn breaks on Jan. 4.
This 2018, the Quadrantids will be hard to spot, as they come after the Full Wolf Moon occurring from Jan. 1 to 2. Such full moon, which is also the year's largest and brightest supermoon, is expected to outshine the meteor shower.
The celestial event is bringing an average of 11 meteors per hour, with Hawaii and Alaska offering the best views. Its fireballs will also be more visible from the West Coast than in areas across the east of mainland United States.
First Meteor Shower Radiating From Quadrans Muralis
A radiant refers to the specific point in the night sky from which a meteor appears to originate from. The Quadrantids have been identified to come from the constellation Quadrans Muralis, which is considered to be obsolete, states a report.
Quadrans Muralis was named after an early astronomical device called a quadrant, which astronomers used in observing and plotting star positions. The constellation was created in 1795 by French astronomer Jerome Lalande, and the first Quadrantids were viewed in 1825.
In 1922, the International Astronomical Union made a list of modern constellations but excluded Quadrans Muralis. Although it is no longer recognized as a constellation, it is still known to many because of the Quadrantids.
The constellation is found near the handle of the Big Dipper, between Bootes and Draco. This is why the Quadrantids are also known as the Bootids because it appears as though the meteor shower comes from Bootes.
A separate report says there is no need to find the Quadrantids' radiant to see the meteor shower. Although the celestial event will radiate from the north, it will appear in all parts of the night sky.
Quadrantids Are Best Seen With Naked Eye, Suggests Report
The most suitable location to watch the Quadrantids is any spot far away from all the city lights and traffic, with a wide and unobstructed view of the dark night sky.
While binoculars and telescopes serve useful when observing other celestial events, these instruments will only block the view when watching the meteor shower. A report recommends using nothing but the naked eye. To prepare one's eyes, staying half an hour in the dark will allow the eyes to adjust to the reduced light.
Following the Quadrantids, a total lunar eclipse has been forecasted to appear on Jan. 31. It will be the second full moon of the month, making it a blue moon. The name, however, does not suggest a change in color, as the moon is expected to be painted a red hue during the eclipse.