General · 2nd January 2018
Weather Network & earthsky.org
January 3-4: The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks on the night of January 3-4, as Earth passes through a stream of rocky debris left behind by extinct comet 2003 EH1. Along with the December Geminids, the Quadrantids are only one of two major meteor showers of the year that do not originate from an active comet.
While the Quadrantids can be just as numerous in the night sky as the Geminids, the view will be spoiled this year, due to the fact that the shower is peaking only one night after the closest and brightest Full Moon of 2018. The brightness of the moon will wash out many of the dimmer meteors, leaving only the brightest to be seen.
Also, while the Geminids peak ramps up over a few nights beforehand and can still give good returns the night after, the Quadrantids peak is very sharp, lasting just that one night. Also, the timing of this year's peak is forecast for 21:00 UTC, or roughly 1pm PST. That means that Europe will be favoured for viewing the peak, Canada missing out on most of it while the radiant is still below the eastern horizon. If you happen to be under clear, dark skies, however, it may still be worth a look.
Location: The meteor shower radiants – the point in the sky where the meteors appear to originate – is in the region of the Big and Little Dippers, Draco, and Bootes. But the meteors themselves can show up anywhere in the sky. So, the best way to watch a meteor shower is to look straight up. That way, your field of view takes in as much of the sky as possible, all at once. Bring a lawn chair to sit in, or even lean back against your car. Bringing along some family and friends is also great, since it's best to share these experiences with others.