The Quadrantids, one of the best but least-known meteor showers, will shine in the new year.
Astronomers are predicting that the Quadrantids will peak around 8 a.m. EST January 3. That time works best for Asia, but North American meteor-watchers should also keep an eye out because predicting meteor showers remains inexact.
You’ll need a clear, dark sky to see more than just a few Quadrantids. “Dark” means at least 40 miles (60 kilometers) from the lights of a large city. You won’t need a telescope or even binoculars — in fact, the eyes alone work best because they provide the largest field of view.
Astronomy magazine Contributing Editor Mike Reynolds spoke about an important detail: “Comfort counts when observing meteor showers. Remember, this event takes place in January, so you must keep warm. Observing meteors is not a physical activity. You’ll probably just be sitting.”
When you’re ready to start observing, set up a lawn chair, preferably one that reclines. To see the maximum number of meteors, just look overhead. Glancing around won’t hurt anything.
Reynolds advises observers to keep a running tally of meteors. “By doing that,” he says, “you’ll get a good idea of how your site compares with observing sites around the world.”
How many Quadrantids will you see? Most years under clear, moonless conditions, observers count 60 to 200 meteors per hour from a dark site (with an average of about 120).
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This is something I wish I could have watched but it was about minus 24° celsius this morning here !