Clear Skies Offer Ideal Quadrantid Meteor Shower Viewing During Tonight's Peak
It will be at its peak on Jan. 3 in Edina. If there are clouds that night, you can watch a Ustream on NASA.com.
If you blink you might miss the Quadrantids Meteor Shower. It peaks in the hours right before dawn on Jan. 3, with a maximum number of meteors per hour of about 80.
The Quadrantids come from an asteroid called 2003 EH1, just as the Geminids did in early December. Meteor showers usually are named based on the constellations where they originate. Quadrans Muralis (mural quadrant) between Bootes and Draco.
The meteor shower is expected to "last only a few hours," according to NASA.com. That means you should look for it in the the night of Jan. 2-3, not the night of Jan. 3-4. The moon will set after midnight, so the best time to view the meteors will be between then and sunrise at about 7:50 a.m.
If there is cloud cover in Edina tonight, you can watch a Ustream feed of the meteor shower on Jan. 2-4 on NASA.com.
Obviously, you'll have more luck catching the shooting stars if you're in a place not polluted by light.
So where can you enjoy the shower locally? It's best to find an area away from city lights, lie down and look up. Van Valkenburg Park, Bredesen Park and Braemar Park all seem like great spots to enjoy the show, though they all close at 11 p.m. As the meteor shower will probably be most visible as the night goes on, you might want to visit a friend who lives in a rural area to watch the shower.
If you're willing to travel, the Onan Observatory at Baylor Regional Park in Noorwood Young America just west of the Twin Cities is an option. The observatory is free to visit, but a parking pass is required to enter the park.