Here’s How to Watch the Best Meteor Shower of the Season from Mississauga

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Are you into astronomy?

Even if you're not, you probably still enjoy witnessing rare and beautiful celestial events that don't happen every day.

According to a recent Weather Network article, the "best meteor shower of the winter season"— the Quadrantids—will peak tonight (Thursday, Jan. 3).

You can also check it out tomorrow (Jan. 4). 

The article points out that while winter might not be an ideal time to stargaze, the visual experience will be worth the chilly temps.

"Clear winter nights often present the best viewing, compared to other seasons, as the air overhead tends to be drier and more stable. Stars, planets and the Moon appear crisper and cleaner, as their light encounters less turbulence in the air before it reaches us," the article says.  

Mostly importantly, it says the best of the winter meteor showers happens right after New Years - the Quadrantids.

The Weather Network says the Quadrantids, which originate from an asteroid known as 2003 EH1 (possibly an ‘extinct comet’), is one of only two known meteor showers to originate from a rocky body.

Astronomy buffs should note that, according to the article, this meteor shower is pretty spectacular, delivering an average of 120 meteors per hour under absolutely ideal conditions (clear, dark and dry skies).

The Weather Network says this can vary year to year, from around 60 to close to 200, and includes all meteors, from the brightest to those too dim to be noticed by the human eye.

Fortunately for viewers, the weather agency says we can expect a nice dark sky for the entire night.

"One complication for the Quadrantid meteor shower is its very sharp peak. Most other meteor showers have a peak that lasts all night, or possibly even over a few days. The peak of the Quadrantids typically lasts for only 4 hours," the article reads.

"This year, just based on the timing of when Earth passes through the densest part of the meteoroid stream, that four-hour peak is centred around 2 UTC, or about 5 p.m. ET, which favours European viewers."

The Weather Network says Canadian skywatchers might want to head out just after sunset to hopefully catch the tail end of the peak.

The article also provides some tips on how to best watch meteor showers:

1) check the weather,
2) get away from light pollution, and
3) be patient.

Will you be watching tonight and tomorrow?

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