STARGAZERS take note – the stunning Quadrantids meteor shower is heading your way VERY soon.
So grab a snug blanket, get cosy and turn your eyes to the sky, as we guide you through the space rock calendar for the New Year.
When is Quadrantids meteor shower coming to the UK, and when is its peak?
The Quadrantids meteor shower is active from December 28 to January 12.
But its peak will be on the night of Wednesday, January 3 and Thursday, January 4.
As the UK is set to enjoy a supermoon just two days before, it could be harder than usual to witness the event.
When was the last meteor shower in the UK?
The last meteor shower to be seen in the UK was the Ursids.
Over December 22 and December 23, the spectacular event lit up our skies.
At its height, an average of five to 10 shooting stars could be seen per hour; on some occasions, people have spotted up to 50.
This year’s shooting stars were more difficult to see because of the imminent full moon.
These pictures were taken in Northumberland in August 2016, when one meteor shower took place
What is a meteor shower?
Meteor showers take place when space rocks, also known as meteoroids, enter the earth’s atmosphere.
As it falls towards earth, resistance of the air on the rock makes it hot and air around it glows – which has led to them being known as shooting stars.
When there are numerous rocks at the same time, this is known as a meteor shower.
Meteoroids are often so small they burn up in the earth’s atmosphere, so there is little chance of a collision.
Meteor showers are named after the constellation where the rocks appear to be coming from.
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What is a supermoon?
It wasn’t until 1979 that Richard Nolle first defined the supermoon, which is now a widely-used term.
The astrologer explained that the phenomenon is “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.”
Based on Nolle’s theory, the moon would have to be 226,000 miles away from the Earth to be considered ‘super’.
Because of its relatively close proximity to the Earth, the celestial body’s surface appears a lot bigger when a supermoon occurs.
Meteor showers in 2018
- Quadrantids 2/3 January
- Lyrids 22/23 April
- Eta Aquarid 10/33 May
- Perseid 12/13 August
- Draconid 8/9 October
- Orionid 21/22 October