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Quadrantid meteor shower to delight skygazers as first celestial display of 2016

Stargazers are in for a treat as the first meteor shower of 2016 is set to peak across the January night sky.

The Quadrantid meteor shower has a narrow peak that lasts for a few hours, according to EarthSky.

The best viewing conditions will be mainly confined to the Northern Hemisphere, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist David Samuhel said.

The optimal window to watch the meteors will be during the late night hours of Jan. 3 through dawn on Jan 4.

"The Quadrantid meteor shower is capable of matching the meteor rates of the better known August Perseid and December Geminid showers. It has been known to produce up to 50-100 or more meteors per hour in a dark sky," EarthSky said.

Stargazers who will encounter inclement weather or cloudy skies can view Slooh's live broadcast of the meteor shower starting at 8:00 p.m. EST on Jan. 3.

"A storm moving into California will spread clouds across the West Coast states," Samuhel said.

The clouds will lead to poor viewing conditions for western portions of Arizona and Utah to much of California and Nevada.

Long breaks in clouds will allow for fair viewing conditions for Colorado to the Dakotas and Minnesota, AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis said.

Travis added that lake-effect clouds will likely inhibit views for stargazers across the Great Lakes region.

The Quadrantids will be visible in the cities of St. Louis, Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee, as well as Philadelphia to Boston.

"The Quadrantids is named for an obsolete constellation, Quadrans Muralis, which didn't make the cut when the IAU made its official constellation list in 1930," Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman said.

After the Quadrantids, the next major meteor shower, the Lyrid shower, is expected between April 16 and 25, 2016.