Largest meteor shower in the Netherlands since 1976
It looks like, weather permitting, the start of 2019 will be welcomed by a magical shower of shooting stars. On Friday morning, January 4, we may be able to see up to 130 meteors an hour, or two per minute.
Shooting stars galore
If you want to catch a glimpse of the shooting stars on Friday, look to the east of the sky around 6.30am, preferably from a dark spot. The sky will be dark and the meteor shower will be high up. Additionally, this early in the morning, the sun and moon won’t interfere with the visibility of the meteor shower. Currently, the forecast gives extremely favourable conditions, apart from some clouds, which could spoil things.
This particular meteor shower will be extra special as, according to astronomer Marc van der Sluys from the Radboud University in Nijmegen, it will be the first shower since 1976 where so many shooting stars can be seen. The next time such a large meteor shower will occur will be in 2085 and 2128.
This particular shower is called the Quadrantids meteor shower and takes its name from the no-longer-existing constellation Quadrans Muralis. However, it sometimes also goes by the name of Bootids, after the more modern constellation Boötes.
Tips for viewing the meteor shower
For the best viewing experience, take note of these tips!
- Head to a dark, open spot, away from city lights.
- It’s going to be cold, and may even freeze inland. So, dress up warm!
- Let your eyes adjust to the dark for around 15 minutes.
- Check the weather forecast for your area before heading out.
- Be patient and give your eyes a break every now and then.
If this kind of phenomenon interests you, you are in for a treat! Later on in the month, January 21 to be precise, there will be a total lunar eclipse.