MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Clear and moon-free conditions in the early hours of January 4, 2012 will make for a perfect night for watching the Quandrantids meteor shower. This meteor shower happens every year, but ingredients have to be just right in order for the Mid-South to see them. They have a short life span and a short peak when the meteors are brightest in the sky.
David Maness, Pink Palace Planetarium Supervisor, explained, "Comets spend most of their time far away from the earth and the sun. When they get close to the sun, they melt off some material."
A meteor shower is the trail of debris from particles left behind from a comet. Particles fall into the Earth’s atmosphere every day, but it is rare that the Mid-South has such favorable conditions to spy the "shooting stars."
"Winter time is actually the best times to look at the night sky. We have clear, dark skies," said Maness. "The moon is just past the first quarter. It will be out of our sky during those hours. So, we'll have a really dark sky and those are ideal conditions."
However, where you live in the Mid-South will play a role in how many meteors you can spot. If you live closer to the city where the night sky is lit up by lights of downtown, the meteor shower will be harder to see. In the suburbs away from city lights, David Maness anticipates that one person could see 30 to 50 meteors an hour.
The Quandrantids meteor shower will peak during the hours of 3-5 a.m. Wednesday morning.