Nothing will put you in your place like a good show from outer space. One time about a decade ago, we had the rare chance to see the northern lights in the stateline area. I have always wanted to see them, but never had. That night, I forgot about the opportunity and went to bed. I awoke in the middle of the night for no good reason and went right to the window that faced north. What I saw were dozens of sheets of white light canvassing the sky. This went on for ten minutes, until I opened the shades, went to bed and watched the show until I fell back asleep. To this day, I have never experienced the feeling I did that night. Small and insignificant. Only a spectator with a seat in a stadium that has billions and billions of seats. It can give you a perspective you may never have had before. The showers will be active through January 10.

A good meteor shower can give you the same feeling, and we get a chance this month to see one. The Quadrantids meteor shower is currently happening and being in the northern hemisphere is exactly where you want to be. According to the American Meteor Society, this could be the strongest shower of the year, but catching it can be tricky. The average rate is about 25 per hour. These meteors usually lack big trails, but often produce big, bright fireballs.


The Quadrantids have the potential to be the strongest shower of the year but usually fall short due to the short length of maximum activity (6 hours) and the poor weather experienced during early January. The average hourly rates one can expect under dark skies is 25. These meteors usually lack persistent trains but often produce bright fireballs. Due to the high northerly declination (celestial latitude) these meteors are not well seen from the southern hemisphere.

If you're over the age of forty, then you know who Carl Sagan is. The astronomer/physicist hosted a great show called Cosmos and was famous for saying 'billions,' 'millions', and even 'trillions.' If you are under the age of forty, I bet you've heard someone say these words in their best Carl Sagan voice, even if you weren't aware of it. Enjoy every single 'illion' Sagan uttered during the show's existence. We lost Carl Sagan in 1996, but we still have this to enjoy for billions and billions of eons.

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