On Saturday night, you’ll get your first shot at watching a meteor shower in 2015. The Quadrantid shower is expected to peak around 9 EST on January 3rd.
While the meteor shower’s peak is at 9 pm EST, you will probably be better off waiting a few more hours. The best time to watch meteor showers besides its peak, is generally when the radiant point is high in the sky. For folks in North America, that won’t be until after midnight.
Where should you be looking? EarthSky.org has a handy image showing you where to look. Just find the Big Dipper and you should be set.
Skywatchers will also have to contend with the moon. The moon will be just one day away from its full moon phase when the Quadrantids peak.
People living in portions of Europe and Asia will have the best opportunity for viewing the Quadrantids.
Under the best conditions, NASA expects the meteor shower to peak at nearly 80 meteors per hour. But, the placement of the radiant point and the nearly full moon means no one will see that many.
Here’s one little fact about the Quadrantids you might not know.
The meteor shower is named after a constellation that doesn’t exist anymore. The Quadrantid meteor shower is named after the constellation Quadrans Muralis and was created back in 1795 by French astronomer Jerome Lalande. Today, that constellation is no longer recognized. But, the meteor shower retains its name.
Image credit: NASA