The Best Time to See Tonight’s Quadrantids Meteor Shower
A New Year's meteor shower is so much better than fireworks.
Now that the Wolf Moon has come and gone, stargazers can look forward to the annual Quadrantid meteor shower, which will reach its peak tonight, Wednesday, January 3.
The Quadrantids actually appear from December 22 to January 17, but the best time to see the meteor shower will be late on Wednesday, through the early hours of Thursday morning. On the East Coast, the peak will be a bit before sunset, so viewers will have a better chance of catching the sight a bit after when it's darker. During peak hours, viewers can expect to see up to 40 meteors per hour, according to NASA.
Quadrantids are lesser known compared to other annual meteor showers, since the shower produces less visible meteors. However, the shower is just as brilliant for those who manage to catch a glimpse.
According to Space.com, in order to see the Quadrantids, you simply need to find a dark, outside space that has minimal little light pollution, and let your eyes adjust for about 20 minutes.
To find the best spot in the sky to search for meteors, look for the constellation Boötes, between latitudes +90° and −50°. It's quite close to the Big Dipper, which many people can recognize by its familiar shape. If you follow the "arc" of the Big Dipper's handle across the sky, you'll find the red giant star Arcturus, which anchors the bottom of Boötes.
If you look slightly away from the constellation, you'll find meteors with the longest tails, according to Space.com.
Winter is shaping up to be the perfect time to gaze at the night sky.