In 2019, the first major shower of the year, the Quadrantids, will peak on the night between January 3 and January 4
Where Can I See the Quadrantids?
A near New Moon provides good viewing conditions to catch a glimpse of some of the fainter meteors. Astronomers predict a peak in meteor activity after nightfall on January 3.
When Is Quadrantids Active?
The Quadrantids is usually active between the end of December and the second week of January, and peaks around January 3 to January 4. Unlike other meteor showers that tend to stay at their peak for about two days, the peak period of the Quadrantids only lasts a few hours.
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.
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.
What Time Does the Meteor Shower Peak?
The table is updated daily and shows the position of the Quadrantids radiant in the sky for the upcoming night. Use the date drop down above the animation to change dates.
|Quadrantids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between January 3 and January 4)|
|Thu 5:00 pm||328°||10.4°|
|Thu 6:00 pm||336°||4.9°|
|Thu 7:00 pm||345°||1.1°|
|Thu 10:00 pm||14°||0.6°|
|Thu 11:00 pm||23°||3.9°|
|Fri 12:00 midnight||31°||9.1°|
|Fri 1:00 am||38°||15.7°|
|Fri 2:00 am||45°||23.4°|
|Fri 3:00 am||50°||32.0°|
|Fri 4:00 am||54°||41.2°|
|Fri 5:00 am||57°||50.9°|
|Fri 6:00 am||57°||60.6°|
|Fri 7:00 am||51°||70.2°|
Direction to see the Quadrantids in the sky:
- Azimuth is the direction, based on true north; a compass might show a slightly different value.
- Altitude is height in degrees over horizon.
How to See the Quadrantids
You don't need any special equipment or a lot of skills to view a meteor shower. Even though all you really need is a clear sky, lots of patience, and our handy meteor shower animation with a visibility conditions meter to see a meteor shower, the following tips can help maximize your shooting star viewing experience.
- Find a secluded viewing spot, away from the city lights. Once at the venue, your eyes may take 15 to 20 minutes to get used to the dark.
- Dress for the weather, and make sure you are comfortable, especially if you plan to stay out long. Bring a blanket or a comfortable chair with you—meteor watching can be a waiting game.
- Once you have found your viewing spot, lie down on the ground and look up in the direction of the radiant. Use the meteor shower animation or the table above to find the current direction of the radiant in the sky.