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Dark Bitterroot Nights Good for Stargazing

A Quadrantid streak in New Mexico. (ikewinski/Flickr)
Depending on who you read on the Internet, we either have a chance to see a meteor shower Friday morning, January 4, or we missed it Thursday morning, January 3.

It is the Quadrantids meteor shower, which have a top rate of 100 meteors per hour. However, all over the Internet astronomers, reporters and others have different times for best viewing. Some say the shower peaked Thursday morning just before dawn. Others say that we should be able to see some Friday morning.

What I’ve been able to gather, though, is that the show Thursday morning was not a memorable shower. Besides, we had some hazy conditions here in the Bitterroot that hid most of the sky.

So, there may be a few meteors streaking across the sky Friday morning before dawn. Or not.

No matter the size of the shower, it’s always a good reason to go out and gaze at all the stars you can see in our dark nights. Our valley is at about 3,600 ft elevation, and we don’t have a huge amount of city lights. I can step out my back door and see the stars.

This time of year, the constellation Orion is up there, along with quite a few other features that you can “become friends with.” And then, there are those magnificent clear nights when the Milky Way galaxy seems to take over the sky. See it.

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