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When and Where to See the Quadrantids in 2017

In 2017, the first major shower of the year, the Quadrantids, will peak on the night of January 4 and early morning hours of January 5.

Illustration image

The Quadrantids peak around Jan 3 every year

Unlike other meteor showers, the Quadrantids tend to peak only for a few hours

NASA/MSFC/MEO

A First Quarter Moon will make for good viewing conditions. Astronomers suggest that observers try their luck after nightfall on January 5.

Short Peak

The Quadrantids is usually active between the end of December and the second week of January, and peaks around January 3 to January 5. Unlike other meteor showers that tend to stay at their peak for about two days, the peak period of the Quadrantis is only for a few hours.

Defunct Constellation

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.

The Quadrantids are associated with an asteroid - the 2003 EH1. The asteroid takes about 5.5 years to orbit around the Sun.

Where to View the Quadrantids

Observers in the Northern Hemisphere are the best suited to view the Quadrantids.

While it is not necessary to look in a particular direction to enjoy a meteor shower, astronomers suggest lying down on the ground looking towards the North and look at the sky above you to view the Quadrantids.

Location in the Sky

The Quadrantids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Jan 4, 2017; the table below is for that date:
Quadrantids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between Jan 4 and Jan 5)
TimeAzimuth/DirectionAltitude
Wed 6:00 pm336°North-northwest5.5°
Wed 7:00 pm345°North-northwest1.8°
Wed 8:00 pm354°North0.1° below
Wed 10:00 pm13°North-northeast1.2°
Wed 11:00 pm22°North-northeast4.5°
Thu 12:00 midnight30°North-northeast9.6°
Thu 1:00 am38°Northeast16.2°
Thu 2:00 am44°Northeast23.8°
Thu 3:00 am49°Northeast32.3°
Thu 4:00 am53°Northeast41.4°
Thu 5:00 am55°Northeast50.9°
Thu 6:00 am55°Northeast60.6°
Note: times are for Jan 4, 2017.
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How 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.

Topics: Astronomy, Meteors, January, December

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Meteor Showers Library

  1. October 2016: Orionids
  2. November 2016: Leonids
  3. December 2016: Geminids
  4. December 2016: Ursids
  5. January 2017: Quadrantids
  6. April 2017: Lyrids
  7. May 2017: Eta Aquarids
  8. August 2017: Perseids
  9. October 2017: Draconids

What is a Meteor Shower?

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