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Moon-Free Night Puts Focus on Quadrantid Meteor Shower on January 3. How to Watch the First Major Meteor Shower of 2019

With a moon-free sky on January 3, the Quadrantid meteor shower has a good chance of high visibility against a dark sky in northern latitudes. It’s the first major meteor shower of 2019. To spot meteors best, look for the Big Dipper, and follow the arc of its handle to Arcturus, which is a bright star, the brightest in its constellation of Bootes.

The Quadrantid shower lasts for weeks, but it has a very narrow peak of a few hours with maximum activity. The shower favors Europe this year, with the highest activity predicted for about 2 a.m. GMT on January 4. However, because that’s in early evening, at 6 p.m. Pacific on January 3, and slightly later at 9 p.m. Eastern, the sky may not be dark enough for good spotting.

AccuWeather predicts that the best viewing in the U.S. will be in a swatch from Southern California sweeping upwards and tapering towards Wisconsin and Illinois. The Northwest, South (east of Texas), and much of the Northeast will largely have poor viewing conditions due to clouds and storms.

However, Connecticut and areas of states surrounding it, should also allow for good observations.

At the peak, 60 to 100 meteors per hour may be seen streaking across the sky. Experts say the Quadrantids are often overlooked because of the very brief peak and because the meteors that originated from this “asteroid or possible rock comet” produce typically faint flares.