Quadrantid Meteor Shower
Meet the first meteor shower of 2020! The Quadrantid Meteor Shower will reach its peak on the night of January 3-4. Here is what you need to know about it.
The Quadrantid Meteor Shower is active from December 28 to January 12 annually. This shower favours Northern Hemisphere observers worldwide because true Quadrantids will appear to be travelling away from a region of the northern sky just off the end of the Big Dipper’s handle, near the constellation of Bootes. But you don’t need to find the radiant – the meteors will appear anywhere in the sky.
The shower will peak on January 3-4. The best time to watch will be after midnight when the radiant for the shower will be higher. Quadrantids are often overlooked since the intense peak lasts for only a few hours. The International Meteor Organization predicts (IMO) the peak of the Quadrantids on January 4, 2020, at 8 hours UT (8 am GMT, 3 am EST).
This shower is known for producing bright fireballs because the source material for the meteors is an asteroid designated 2003 EH. A typical hourly rate is about 25, but during the intense peak period, it’s possible to see more than 100 per hour!
To increase your chances of seeing meteors, find a wide-open, dark location, preferably away from light polluted skies, and just look up with your unaided eyes. Binoculars and telescopes are not useful for meteors because their fields of view are too narrow.
Find more information about the Quadrantids and upcoming celestial events in the stargazing app Star Walk 2.