A Quadrantid meteor is seen streaking across a cloud-spattered sky with shadowy rocks in the foreground in this dazzling photo by astrophotographer Roberto Porto taken on Jan. 4, 2012 on Tenerife Island in Spain’s Canary Islands during the meteor shower’s peak.
A dazzling display of “shooting stars” kicked off the 2012 skywatching season early Wednesday (Jan. 4), thrilling amateur astronomers around the world with views of the Quadrantid meteor shower.
Usually one of the most dependable meteor displays of the year, the Quadrantid meteor shower peaked at about 2:30 a.m. EST (0730 GMT) in a brief, but eye-catching, light show. Quadrantid meteors are the leftover crumbs of a shattered comet that broke apart centuries ago, NASA scientists say…
2012 is nearly the 200th year that the Quadrantids have been observed. First recorded in 1825, they are named for an obsolete constellation known as Quadrans Muralis, according to Discovery News.
In December, stargazers were treated to a Geminid meteor shower. Unfortunately, a nearly-full moon washed out the view for some.