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arts & leisure

A stellar meteor display

January 3, 2012

REGION — The Quadrantid meteor shower, an annual event that is highly variable in quality, promises to be especially good this year. Peak activity is expected to occur at about 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

The meteor shower is less well known than some of the others because viewing is made difficult by the fact that its peak is very brief, and it is only visible in early morning.

This year, the moon will have set by 3 a.m., and the skies are expected to be clear in our area. It is expected that viewers could see as many as 60 to 75 meteors per hour. The radiant—the point in the sky from which the meteors appear to emanage—will be about one-third of the way up in the east-northeast sky.