Quadrantid Meteor Shower Peak on January 3, 2013: When and Where to Best View

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By Jenalyn Villamarin | December 31, 2012 5:22 PM EST

The skies will welcome the year 2013 with a spectacular show when the Quadrantids meteor shower peaks in the early morning hours of January 3, 1013. The meteor shower is expected to reach its maximum rate of 80 meteors per hour with the possibility of exceeding to more than 200 meteors per hour.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Quadrantid meteor show will begin on the first day of 2013 but it will peak until the early morning hours of January 4. "The Quadrantids have a maximum rate of about 100 per hour varying from 60-200. The waxing gibbous moon will set around 3 a.m. local time, leaving about two hours of excellent meteor observing before dawn," NASA stated.

The NASA web site also explained the history of the Quadrantids meteor in astronomy. "The Quadrantids derive their name from the constellation of Quadrans Muralis (mural quadrant) which was created by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795. Located between the constellations of Bootes and Draco, Quadrans represents an early astronomical instrument used to observe and plot stars. Even though the constellation is no longer recognized by astronomers, it was around long enough to give the meteor shower, first seen in 1825, its name," NASA declared.

In order to catch the best view of the Quadrantid meteor shower, sky gazers should look north and locate the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). The four shiny stars that comprise the cup end of the Big Dipper is the constellation Draco. In between the end of the Big Dipper's handle and Draco constellation's head, the Quadrantid meteors can be spotted which is also close to the Bootes constellation.

According to Spacedex.com, the yearly Quadrantid meteor shower is expected to present the highest hourly rates compared to the Perseid meteor shower in August and the Geminid meteor shower in December.

General tips in viewing the Quadrantid meteor shower includes finding a clear and dark sky, a comfortable position on a reclining chair, dressing up warmly with additional blankets as well as a warm drink. Getting out of the city is also an option since the city lights affect the intensity of the meteor shower in the skies.

"Meteor Mark," a writer for Meteor Blog, also gave tips on how to spot the Quadrantid meteor shower. "Quadrantids can be seen anywhere in the sky and if you see one in an area, you're likely to see more in that spot, so keep your eyes transfixed to that location," the writer recommended.

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