A meteor shower that NASA calls one of the “best annual” will kick off 2021 this weekend. The Quadrantids are usually active between the end of December and the second week of January, and peak on January 3-4. Unlike other meteor showers that tend to stay at their peak for about two days, the peak period of the Quadrantids only lasts a few hours. This year, light from a waning gibbous moon could make it even harder to spot.
In UAE the shower peak will be “late-night Jan. 3 until dawn Jan. 4,” Unlike most meteor showers, the Quadrantids have a much shorter peak. “During its peak, 60 to as many as 200 Quadrantid meteors can be seen per hour under perfect conditions,” NASA reported. The Quadrantids meteor shower is one of the strongest.
The shower owes its name to the now-defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis. The constellation was left off a list of constellations drawn out by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1922, but because the shower had already been named after Quadrans Muralis, its name was not changed. The Quadrantids is also sometimes called Bootids after the modern constellation, Boötes.
How and Where to See the Quadrantids
You don’t need any special equipment or a lot of skills to view a meteor shower. Even though all you really need is a clear sky, lots of patience, and our handy Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map with a visibility conditions meter to see a meteor shower, the following tips can help maximize your shooting star viewing experience.
Find a secluded viewing spot, away from the city lights. Once at the venue, your eyes may take 15 to 20 minutes to get used to the dark.
Dress for the weather, and make sure you are comfortable, especially if you plan to stay out long. Bring a blanket or a comfortable chair with you—meteor watching can be a waiting game.
Once you have found your viewing spot, lie down on the ground and look up in the direction of the radiant. Use our Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map or the table above to find the current direction of the radiant in the sky.
Dubai Astronomy Group is organizing a paid stargazing party at Wadi Shawka – Ras Al Khema to observe the Quadrantids meteor showers on the 3rd of January 2021.