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First main meteor shower of 2014 hits tonight

Thursday - 1/2/2014, 1:48pm  ET

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A Quadrantids meteor shower will start at 6 p.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. (Courtesy NASA.gov)

WASHINGTON - Although the DMV will sit under clouds for most of the evening on Jan. 2 -- and perhaps part of the morning of Jan. 3 -- NASA will carry a live stream of the Quadrantids meteor shower, starting at 6 p.m. EST. on Jan. 2.

One can also tune in on radar to listen to the shower during its peak, which is predicted for 3 p.m. EST, Jan. 3.

For our worldwide readers who may be able to see the first main meteor shower of 2014 Thursday night and Friday morning, here are some details to help you better understand what you're looking at.

According to NASA, the comet of origin for Quadrantids is 2003 EH1, and its radiant is Constellation Bootes. NASA says the active period for Quadrantids is between Dec. 28, 2013 and Jan. 12, 2014, with its peak activity between Jan. 2 and Jan. 3, 2014. The meteor count is estimated at 80 meteors per hour and the velocity is 25.5 miles (41 kilometers) per second.

NASA says the shower has a very sharp peak that lasts only a few hours, and the greatest number of meteors is expected in the early morning hours, typically before dawn.

Both NASA and the American Meteor Society say Quadrantid showers are usually visually obscured by winter weather. The American Meteor Society says Quadrantids often produce bright fireballs, but are typically hard to see in the Southern Hemisphere.

Good luck and clear skies. Let me know how it goes by sending me an email at skyguyinva@gmail.com. I'll be listening during the peak and tuning in to NASA's live stream.

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