Quadrantid Meteors

Look to the North late on 3rd January into the early hours of the 4th to see one of the most prolific meteor showers of the year. The Quadrantids, named after the now defunct constellation of Quadrans Muralis, can give rise to 30+ meteors and hour and perhaps more with this month’s favourable Moon.

The radiant approaching midnight on 3rd January in the northeast

The meteors in a shower appear to come from or radiate from the same point in the sky. For the Quadrantids, this radiant is between Bootes and Draco and just to the left when looking at Ursa Major, the Great Bear. This radiant will be low in the northern sky at 9pm at night but as the hours pass it will rise higher. The higher it gets, the more meteors become visible. If it were to get overhead, it is calculated that you’d see anywhere between 80 and 300 meteors every hour. It’ll be dawn before it gets that high so you can expect something in the region of 20% to 50% this rate in the early hours.

Credit: Barry Simmons, Quadrantids 2014