The first meteor shower of the year will be coming in with impressive fortitude this weekend. On Saturday, the meteor shower known as Quadrantid will begin reaching peak around 9pm on Saturday evening, and then hit maximum peak between then and sunrise on Sunday morning.
While this is one of the more impressive meteor showers of the calendar year – it is also one of the shortest, in terms of time spent at “peak.” Scientists and astronomers compare this to other meteor showers throughout the year for the vividness of the meteors, but the window at which the meteor shower peaks is incredibly small.
An interesting point about this meteor shower is its confusing name. Most meteor showers are named after the constellation where the meteors will seem to radiate from. Interestingly though, there is no constellation named Quadrans – at least not currently. This is a science and astronomy story that goes back to 1922 but this meteor shower is tied to that year because it was the year that the constellation known as Quadrans Muralis – was incorporated into a constellation called Boötes. Originally, the Quadrans Muralis constellation was discovered using a wall quadrant – which was a version of a telescope – before telescopes actually existed in their modern day form.
For those who are interested in watching the Quadrantid meteor shower at its peak this weekend, should watch close to the horizon line in the eastern and western skies between 9pm Saturday and sunrise on Sunday. However, early predictions note that those who live in Europe and Asia will ultimately have the best chance of seeing the action unfold.
For those who won’t be able to make it to outside to see the actual event though, or for those who will have poor weather hinder viewing – there will be a live broadcast of the peak of the event. Beginning at 11pm the Slooh Space Camera will be running a live event for those who are interested in seeing the show. It is expected that the event could actually bring as many as 80 meteors an hour for those who are in good viewing position, during the peak of the event.