Scientists suspect that the meteors of the Quadrantids are debris from the asteroid 2003 EH1 — the same source of the Geminid meteor shower every December. The asteroid itself may be a chunk from a shattered comet that broke into pieces several hundred years ago, NASA officials said in a statement.
The Quadrantid meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through a stream of debris from the comet. The fragments slam into the atmosphere at 90,000 mph and burn up 50 miles above the planet in a dazzling display.
The meteor shower is named for the outdated Quadrans constellation, which is no longer recognized by astronomers, according to NASA officials.
NASA is streaming the shower for free online from Jan. 2 to Jan. 4. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has a light-activated camera pointed to the sky to record and live-stream the meteor shower during its peak.