Keeper of the Plans

The first meteor shower of the year is tonight. Here’s what you need to know

NASA’s tips for best meteor shower viewing

Rhiannon Blaauw, of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office — located at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. — shares some tips and strategies to best view a meteor shower, such as the Perseid shower. (courtesy of NASA)
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Rhiannon Blaauw, of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office — located at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. — shares some tips and strategies to best view a meteor shower, such as the Perseid shower. (courtesy of NASA)

Ring in the new year with a bit of night lights this Thursday.

The first meteor shower of 2019 is expected to peak late in the evening Thursday into early Friday morning.

The Quadrantids, which has been ongoing since the last couple days of December, has a reputation for being hard to observe, though Thursday night is your best chance.

According to the American Meteor Society, the shower is expected to reach its peak in the U.S. between midnight and dawn Friday.

Be sure to bundle up if you’re trying to view the shower, as temperatures are expected to be in the mid-twenties overnight Thursday.

There will be little moonlight Thursday evening to interrupt the celestial show — the only possible hindrance could be cloud cover from storms in the southeastern United States.

AccuWeather predicts the Wichita area will have “good” to “fair” viewing conditions for this particular event.

Here are some general tips for viewing meteor showers:

You don’t need any special equipment to watch the meteor shower — the naked eye is the best instrument to use.

For optimal viewing, it’s recommended you drive away from the city and any bright lights — places like the grounds of the Lake Afton Public Observatory or a countryside spot are ideal.

Experts recommend dedicating at least 45 minutes to viewing the meteor shower — as eyes can require up to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness.

In perfect conditions, observers have seen anywhere from 60 to 100 meteors per hour in this particular shower, though the viewing window is notoriously short.

Matt Riedl covers arts and entertainment news for the Wichita Eagle and has done so since 2015. He maintains the Keeper of the Plans blog on Facebook, dedicated to keeping Wichitans abreast of all things fun.


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