The West Coast just isn't the place to be to check out Tuesday night's Quadrantids meteor shower, but there are options available to those who want to see the space rocks burn up, a local astronomer said.
Because of a bright moon in the night sky, there is only a slim chance that people in Monrovia or Los Angeles County will catch a glimpse of the meteor shower, according to Monrovia astronomer Morris Jones.
"The problem with trying to view the shower from the West Coast is we still have a large moon in the sky at the peak," said Jones. "Under the light pollution of LA County there's just not that much chance of seeing any."
Jones, who co-founded the Old Town Sidewalk Astronomers here in town with his wife Jane Houston Jones, said the forecasted peak of the shower is at 11:20 p.m. Tuesday. The shower could begin an hour before or after that time, he said.
According to NASA's website, the Quadrantids "originate from an asteroid, called 2003 EH1."
"Dynamical studies suggest that this body could very well be a piece of a comet which broke apart several centuries ago, and that the meteors you will see before dawn on Jan. 4 are the small debris from this fragmentation," the NASA website states. "After hundreds of years orbiting the sun, they will enter our atmosphere at 90,000 mph, burning up 50 miles above Earth's surface--a fiery end to a long journey!"
Most meteors from Quadrantids are the size of a piece of dust, so they don't burn brightly enough when they hit the Earth's atmosphere to be seen in the areas around Los Angeles. For a meteor to be seen here, it must be the size of a golf ball or baseball, Jones said.
"Those are fairly rare," he said.
For those content with watching the shower online, check out the live feed from NASA embedded in this story. Jones also suggested travelling out of LA County to spots like Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego to find a darker sky more conducive to metor viewing.
"We actually are kind of lucky that we can go a couple hundred miles away from Los Angeles and get some pretty dark sky," Jones said.