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Image of the Day: Quadrantid Meteor Shower --Remnants of an Ancient Comet

               Quadrantid-meteor-shower (1)

The Quadrantid meteor shower kicked off the 2012 "shooting star" season early Wednesday (Jan. 4), thrilling amateur astronomers around the world with dazzling views of the shattered remnants of a comet that broke apart centuries ago, NASA scientists say.

The image aboveof a rare early Quadrantid, was captured by a NASA meteor camera. The 2012 Quadrantids, a little-known meteor shower named after an extinct constellation peaked in the earlymorning hours of Jan. 4, the Quadrantids have a maximum rate of about 100 per hour, varying between 60-200. The waxing gibbous moon set around 3 a.m. local time, leaving about two hours of excellent meteor observing before dawn. The Quadrantids only last a few hours. Because of the location of the radiant -- northern tip of Bootes the Herdsman -- only northern hemisphere observers will be able to see Quadrantids.



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