How to watch the Quadrantids meteor shower on New Year’s weekend

After a disturbing 2020, we all deserve a heavenly spectacle to welcome the new year. The Quadrantids meteorite mood has just the right exhibit.

The meteoric series peaks on Saturday night (January 2) and sends up to 90 shooting stars that streak across the sky every hour.

NASA calls the Quadrantids ‘one of the best annual meteor showers’. It is known for bright fireballs, which leave colorful light trails imprinted briefly on the night sky.


NASA’s All Sky cameras captured a Quadrantid meteor on January 4, 2016.


Most meteorite showers come from the dust of a comet (a ball of ice and rock), but the quadrantids are remnants of an asteroid (a bare space rock).

As the earth orbits the sun, it crosses the orbit of asteroid 2003 EH1 every January and plows through the track of debris that dumped the asteroid. These pieces of space rock burn up in the atmosphere and emit brilliant rays of light.

Unfortunately, the waning moon, with about 84% full, is likely to exceed half of Saturday’s meteors. In years when the sky is darker, the quadrants can produce as many as 200 stars in one hour.

How to view the Quadrantids

astronomer telescope watch meteor shower

A stargazer is waiting for light clouds to see the Perseid meteor shower begin on August 12, 2015 near Bobcaygeon, Ontario.

REUTERS / Fred Thornhill

While other meteoric showers peak in a few days, the quadrantids only give their best for about six hours. To capture the full glory, bundle and get as far away from city lights as possible. Find a comfortable place to lie on your back with an open view of the stars. (Pro tip: A lounge chair is a stargazer’s best friend.)

If possible, position yourself so that the moon is outside your field of vision. This will reduce its excessive brightness.

Wait 30 minutes until your eyes adjust to the dark. The heavenly show must begin as soon as evening falls and lasts until dawn.

The shooting stars will radiate from the north, but you must be able to see them in the entire sky.

After the quadranties, the next meteor shower to watch is the Lyrids, which peak in the night of April 21st.