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article imageMeteor shower to light up North American skies on Wednesday

By Christine Mattice     Jan 3, 2012 in Science
A meteor shower is set to light up the North American skies early Wednesday morning. Called the Quadrantids (pronounced Quad-RON-this), the meteor shower will perform its light show between 2:30 and 5 a.m. Eastern time.
The meteor showers should be dazzling, according to Conrad Jung, an astronomer at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland. As Jung told USA Today:
The shower is likely to produce up to 100 falling stars an hour, making for a good show. People across North America who stay up late enough, and who have a clear sky, should get a nice view.”
Scientists call this meteor show “the Quads,” and they are not as rare as one might think. Rather, the Quandrantids occur each year, but always in the winter, so most people don’t brave the cold weather to watch them.
Though you may be chilly, your view of this meteor shower should be clear in most areas of North America. The Weather Channel’s Mark Ressler reports that, “the only potentially cloudy spots should be the Pacific Northwest, and the Great Lakes parts of the Northeast.” ABC News, however, reports that the best viewing will be in the eastern United States.
The best way to see the meteor shower, reports ABC News, is to bundle up warmly and get away from city lights. Then look up at the dark sky and keep looking. These meteors streak by quickly, so you'll have to stay alert.
According to USA Today:
The shower comes from the remnants of a comet named 2003EH1, which probably broke up in the past 500 years. The tiny particles of rock that remain will enter Earth's atmosphere at 90,000 mph, burning up 50 miles above the surface and creating the falling stars that gazers will see.
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