Watch bright fireballs visible with the naked eye in 2021’s first meteor shower

The Quadrantids Meteor Shower occurs every year in early January and is one of the most impressive shows in the night sky.

It occurs as the Earth passes through the dusty trail of Asteroid 2003 EH and although it's active in December, the best time to see it is in January.

It's visible with the naked eye and as the meteors rain down on Earth's atmosphere until dawn you'll be able to see bright fireballs – which is why this shower is special.

The Quadrantids peak over a couple of nights, and in previous years, has produced between 50 and 100 meteors an hour.

Astronomers at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London estimate you could see around 60 per hour.

In 2021, the Quadrantids Meteor Shower will peak over the nights of Saturday, January 2 and Sunday, January 3.

It's mostly visible for those living in the northern hemisphere, so the UK is in a prime location!

It peaks at around midnight and meteors hit the atmosphere over the next several hours until dawn.

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NASA believe up to 200 meteors can be seen per hour under perfect conditions.

"Quadrantids are also known for their bright fireball meteors", the space agency says.

"Fireballs are larger explosions of light and colour that can persist longer than an average meteor streak. This is due to the fact that fireballs originate from larger particles of material."

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How to see the Quadrantids Meteor Shower?

If you stand in a dark spot you'll be able to catch them with a naked eye, but ensure you give it a while to allow your eyes to adjust.

Stay away from street lights and other sources of light pollution, and it's good to be in a wide-open space where you can scan the sky with your eyes.

Face northeast but keep an eye on the entire sky.

The Quadrantids appear to come from a constellation named 'Quadrans Muralis', created in 1795 but no longer recognised as a constellation.

NASA says: "Come prepared for winter weather with a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair.

"Lie flat on your back with your feet facing northeast and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible. In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors.

"Be patient—the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse."

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