This year’s first major meteor shower, the Quadrantid, occurs Friday night, predicted to peak early Saturday morning. The Quadrantid meteor shower has been known to produce 50-100 meteors per hour, visible for those in the Northern Hemisphere. Unless it’s an exceptional year though, it’s more likely that you might see 15-25 meteors per hour.
Moonset will be fairly early giving us a dark sky for great viewing before sunrise tomorrow (Saturday). This will allow for meteors to appear brighter and easier to see. Astronomers estimate peak viewing ~2AM. But this meteor shower has a particularly narrow window for peak viewing, only lasting a few hours, whereas other annual meteor showers span a few days.
Origins of name
The Quadrantid meteor shower was first recognized 195 years ago, back in January of 1825. Like most meteor showers, the Quadrantid meteor shower gets its name from the constellation from which it appears to radiate from. What makes the Quadrantid more interesting is that it’s namesake constellation, Quadrans Muralis, is no longer recognized (left off the list of 88 modern constellations agreed upon in 1922). Despite this, astronomers still call the annual meteor shower by it’s original name.
Central Texas viewing forecast
Viewing conditions appear great here in Central Texas tonight as today’s cold front will usher in dry air, allowing for clear skies by nightfall. Just be sure to bundle up as it will be chilly tonight – upper 30s to low 40s.
More information can be found here.