The first winter meteor shower of 2013 is scheduled to reach its peak early Thursday, Jan. 3 if skies are clear in Whatcom County.
The Quadrantid meteor shower, also known as "the Quads," will reach its peak between 3 and 5 a.m. Thursday on the West Coast, according to Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
NASA also is proving a live webcast of the meteor shower at its space.com site. The camera is light-activated, and will switch on at nightfall each night. During daytime hours, NASA plans to show recorded views of past meteor showers.
The Quadrantids can have up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak. Even though the shower peaks later in the week, meteors can be visible through Saturday.
Also affecting the viewing, the near-last-quarter moon will hide many of the fainter meteors with its glare. The best viewing will be at a dark location after midnight, far away from city lights. Look for meteors radiating from the constellation Bootes in the northern sky.
The Quads were first observed in Italy in 1825. They are named after an obsolete constellation, Quadrans Muralis, created by a French astronomer in 1795.
This story was updated Jan. 3.