The Quadrantids meteor shower will be the very first one of 2018 and is well worth taking the time to watch. This shower will reach its peak on the night of January 3rd and this is what you need to know about it.
While we have been able to see meteors from this shower for the past week it will not peak until January 3rd and 4th during predawn hours. The radiant point of this shower seems to make an approximate right angle with the Big Dipper and the bright star Arcturus. That being said if you are in the mid-northern or far-northern latitudes you should have no trouble seeing this shower.
For those who do not know, this shower is named after a constellation that does not exist anymore. While most meteor showers are named after the constellations from which they seem to come, this one’s constellation is not around anymore. The constellation this shower used to come from was called Quadrans Muralis and it no longer exists because back in 1922 the International Astronomical Union devised a list of 88 modern constellations. While this list was agreed upon it did not include the constellation Quadrans Muralis.
You do not have to use binoculars or anything of the sort to view this shower. That being said, NASA does recommend that you lie flat on your back with your feet facing the Northwest. Be patient as it can and usually will take up to 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. The Quadrantids are thought to be made up of the debris left behind by the 2003 EH1 asteroid that NASA now believes to be a dead comet.
Smithsonianmag.com says as follows in regards to viewing this shower:
Like with all meteor showers, it’s imperative to get as far away from cities or light sources for best viewing. But this year make sure to also bundle up appropriately—or even skip the show if wind chills dip dangerously low.
Now, if you happen to miss this shower there is no need to worry, January holds a lot of astrological wonders. Will you be watching?
Featured image via DC News