When To See Shooting Stars In January 2023

~2 min
Meteor Showers in January

In January 2023, two meteor showers will reach their peaks of activity. Read on to learn when it’s best to observe them in the sky.

Contents

January 4: Quadrantids

  • ZHR: 120
  • Moon illumination: 95%
  • Active: December 28 - January 12
  • Radiant location: constellation Bootes
  • Visible from: Northern Hemisphere
  • Visibility forecast: This year, the view of the Quadrantids will be corrupted by the almost Full Moon. To escape its influence, start observations early in the morning when the Moon is low in the sky. You’ll also have 1-2 hours of darkness after the moonset. The meteor shower will reach its peak by around 4:00 GMT. Note that the period of maximum activity is quite short (it only lasts about 6 hours).
  • Description: The Quadrantids are one of the strongest meteor showers of the year. They can produce up to 120 meteors per hour, but the average hourly rate doesn’t exceed 25 meteors. However, they are known for their bright, colorful fireballs. Given the clear dark sky and good weather, they can provide a spectacular show.

January 19: γ-Ursae Minorids

  • ZHR: 3
  • Moon illumination: 4%
  • Active: January 10-22
  • Radiant location: constellation Ursa Minor
  • Visible from: Northern Hemisphere
  • Visibility forecast: The observing conditions for the γ-Ursae Minorids (Gamma Ursae Minorids) are favorable this year. The thin lunar crescent won’t outshine the meteors. Feel free to observe the stream on the peak night and later.
  • Description: γ-Ursae Minorids have little to boast about — it’s a weak meteor stream with a peak rate of only three meteors per hour. It has been annually observed by the International Meteor Organisation but is not well studied yet.

For any meteor shower, the higher the radiant in the sky, the more meteors you are likely to see. If you want to learn the radiant’s position (as well as the Moon phase for any chosen date), use our stargazing apps: Star Walk 2 or Sky Tonight.

You can also take our quiz about shooting stars to get helpful meteor-hunting tips.

Take this quiz to see how well you're prepared for meteor hunting and get useful tips on how to catch the most shooting stars.
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Bottom line

Two meteor showers reach their peak in January 2023. The Quadrantids are the most promising out of them, but the observation conditions are not very good this year. You might also try your luck with the γ-Ursae Minorids. They’re not as prolific as the Quadrantids, but on their peak night, the sky will be dark enough to see as many meteors as possible.

We wish you clear skies and happy observations!

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