PolygamousRanchKid writes: Sky watchers are in for their first treat of 2012, as the short but intense Quadrantid meteor shower will light up the northern sky in the early morning of Jan. 4. According to a NASA web page on the Quadrantids, there could be as many as 200 meteors per hour, though the average rate is about 60 to 100 per hour. According to NASA, the shower originates from an asteroid, that may be a piece of a comet which broke apart several centuries ago, and that the meteors you will see before dawn on Jan. 4 are the small debris from this fragmentation. The Quadrantids have not been studied as extensively as some of the better-known meteor showers like the Perseids and Geminids, possibly because it's best visible in far northern latitudes, where its appearance coincides with cold weather. Another factor may be the short peak of the shower, which means some observers may miss it if they're not watching at just the right time if they're not in the right spot. According to meteorshowersonline.com, the shower can be hard to see because some of the meteors are faint, requiring exceptional observation conditions.
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