Quadrantids meteor shower

NASA's cameras have captured the first meteor shower of the year. As many as 100 shooting stars were visible every hour across the skies of Britain and the Northern Hemisphere.

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Facts about the Quadrantids meteor shower

The Quadrantids meteor shower is made up of space debris that will enter our atmosphere at speeds of 90,000 mph before burning up 50 miles above Earth's surface.

A shooting star captured during the 2012 Quadrantids meteor shower Credit: Donovan Shortey

It will be technically visible all over the world with the exception of Antarctica, although light pollution and cloud cover means that only some will see it in practice.

At its peak, stargazers may see up to 120 meteors per hour.

It was named after an extinct constellation - Quadrans Muralis - which was created by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795. The term 'Quadrans' refers to a quadrant - an early astronomical instrument used to observe and plot stars.

Tips on observing tonight's meteor shower

Here are some tips from NASA on spotting the Quadrantids meteor shower tonight:

  • Meteor rates increase after midnight and peak between 3am and dawn
  • Allow your eyes 30-45 minutes to adjust to the dark
  • Try to allow your eyes take in as much of the sky as possible
  • Get away from street lights and other artificial lights
  • Check the Met Office weather forecast in your area here

Please send your pictures to yourstory@itn.co.uk

Stargazers set for annual Quadrantids meteor shower

Stargazers will get the chance to view up to 200 shooting stars every hour as the Quadrantids meteor shower passes over the UK in the early hours of Thursday.

The Quadrantids meteor shower. Credit: NASA/MSFC

The meteor shower, which is named after an extinct constellation, will last a few hours.

For more information about the Quadrantids or to watch the shower streamed live, visit the NASA website.

There are also tips on how best to observe the meteor shower in the UK here.

Send your photographs of the meteor shower to yourstory@itn.co.uk