First meteor shower of the year peaks Thursday night

By Caitlin O'Kane

/ CBS News

The first meteor shower of 2019 year will peak Thursday night, according to the astronomy site EarthSky.org. The best time to watch the Quadrantid shower is from late night January 3 until dawn on January 4.

The Quadrantids have been known to produce some 50-100 meteors in a dark sky. However, the peak will only last a few hours.

The exact peak of the shower, according to the International Meteor Organization, will be at 2:00 a.m. UTC, when skygazers in Europe may get the best view.

The meteor shower is expected to be visible in the Northern Hemisphere, especially mid-northern and far-northern latitudes, if weather conditions allow. There won't be much moonlight to interfere. But EarthSky.org notes that predicting the peak of a meteor shower is just an educated guess.

The Quadrantids meteor shower is not the only astronomical event taking place this month. Just a few days later, a partial solar eclipse will take place this weekend. However, a small sliver of Alaska is the only part of the U.S. that will have a view of it before dusk January 5. The eclipse will be visible to people across most of Asia on January 6.

And later this month, be sure and look skyward for a sighting of a supermoon lunar eclipse. Space.com reports the closest approach of the full moon will coincide with a total lunar eclipse on January 21. There won't be another total lunar eclipse until May 2021.

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First published on January 3, 2019

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