1st meteor shower of 2012 amazes skywatchers

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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…

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