Helen Mirren and Bradley Cooper aren’t the only stars headed for Palm Springs. Astronomy buffs may want to set their alarm clocks for midnight tonight. That’s when the Quadrantid meteor showers are scheduled to arrive in the skies over the Coachella Valley. The showers have a short peak of just eight hours, per Elizabeth Weise writing in USA Today, and peak viewing for our area is slated between midnight and 3 a.m. Thursday.
The Quads were first observed in Italy in 1825 and are named after an obsolete constellation, Quadrans Muralis, named by a French astronomer in 1795.
More crucial info from the article:
Peak time occurs from 8 to 9 a.m. Eastern, 5 a.m. Pacific on Thursday. This makes the predawn hours Thursday the best time to look for Quads in North America, said Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
AccuWeather reports that the best states for viewing the meteor shower will be in southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and southern sections of Nevada and Utah.
The Quad’s peak is really the only time to watch them because the rate of meteors striking the earth’s atmosphere quickly diminishes. That’s different from most other big showers such as the Geminids and Perseids, which have good rates for a couple of days centered on their respective peaks.
If you happen to snap any pictures, make sure to send them to us here.
(The picture above was shot by The Desert Sun’s Richard Lui in Joshua Tree during the 2010 Perseid meteor shower.)