Meteor shower viewing area

Killeen-area residents may be able to see the first meteor shower of the new year this week.

Killeen-area residents may be able to see the first meteor shower of the new year this week.

The peak of the shower will unfold tonight into the early morning hours of Friday, according to a news release from AccuWeather.

One of the benefits for stargazers is that the peak occurs during the new moon, allowing for a darker sky. The cloudy, rainy weather that hit Wednesday should begin to clear up by tonight.

“The lower natural light pollution will make it easier to see more meteors, but light pollution from cities and highways can still interfere with viewing,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada said.

During perfect conditions, anywhere from 60 to over 100 meteors per hour can be seen during the peak of the shower, known as the Quadrantids meteor shower.

The most ideal viewing conditions will appear across parts of the central and southwestern United States.

The timing of the peak is very narrow, according to Earthsky. Unlike other meteor showers, such as the Perseids or Geminids where the peak can last for a couple days, the Quadrantids peak is only for several hours, with the best time occurring between midnight and dawn.

Because this peak is so brief, some parts of the world may not be able to see the shower.

“The radiant point for the Quadrantids is easy to find as it sits near the Big Dipper, one of the most well-known constellations in the sky. However, meteors will be visible in all areas of the sky, not just near the Big Dipper,” Lada said.

According to NASA the reason the peak is so short is due to the “shower’s thin stream of particles and the fact that the Earth crosses the stream at a perpendicular angle.”

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