Here’s something to look forward to this new year: The Quadrantid meteor shower will be turning on some holiday lights from December 28 to January 12. This year’s meteors are fortunate enough to streak across a moonless predawn sky.
The Moon will set in the early evening, leaving the sky as dark as your site is. The best time to observe the Quadrantids is during the early morning hours of January 3, when they peak. The climax of their sky-show will produce between 60 and 120 meteors per hour, a rate comparable to the more famed Perseid and Geminid showers.
Why, then, are the Quadrantids more obscure? “This particular meteor shower has a narrow peak,” says Senior Editor Michael Bakich. “Its high point only lasts a few hours, making it harder to catch. Plus, it occurs in the dead of winter for northern observers.”