The Quadrantids is an above average meteor shower averaging about 40 meteors per hour at its peak. It is thought to be produced by dust grains and particles left behind by an extinct comet known as 2003 EH1, first discovered in 2003.
The shower runs annually from January 1st through the 5th but it peaks this year on the night of the 3rd and morning of the 4th. Once the first quarter moon sets just after midnight it will leave the skies dark enough for a nice show. The best time and place to view this shower will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Bootes, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
Why are they called the Quandrantids?
The shower owes its name to the now defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis. The constellation was left off a list of constellations drawn out by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1922, but because the shower had already been named after Quadrans Muralis, its name was not changed. The Quadrantids is also sometimes called Bootids after the modern constellation, Boötes.
What’s the best way to watch meteor showers?
- Check the weather: Meteors, or shooting stars, are easy to spot, all you need is clear skies and a pair of eyes.
- Get out of town: Find a place as far away as possible from artificial lights
- Prepare to wait: Bring something to sit or lie down on. Star gazing is a waiting game, so get comfortable.