January’s meteor shower is upon us, but the weather forecast isn’t great (Credit: Shutterstock)
The first meteor shower of 2023 is set to peak tonight with as many as 100 shooting stars crossing the night sky.
The Quadrantids meteor shower is a brief but powerful meteor shower that comes around every January.
It’s caused by debris raining down on Earth from the asteroid 2003 EH1 and is particularly visible in the northern hemisphere.
The exact time of the peak of the shower is 3am tomorrow morning, Wednesday 4th January.
Unfortunately, the Met Office is forecasting cloud cover for most of the UK throughout the night. Those in Scotland may have pockets of clear sky but it doesn’t look good for residents in England and Wales.
Sadly, as well as extensive cloud cover, we also have a 91% waxing gibbous moon to deal with. Which means, even if the sky is clear, there will be a lot of illumination from the moon potentially stopping you seeing the meteors.
Quadrantids meteor shower 2023: Where should I look?
If you are lucky enough to escape the cloud cover and rain and get a bit of clear sky, you shouldn’t struggle to spot the shooting stars.
Ideally, facing northeast will get the best view. But it shouldn’t matter too much which direction you face as long as you can get as much of the sky in your view as possible.
Try to stay away from trees, tall buildings or streetlights.
The further north you go, the better your view of the meteor shower will be (Credit: Getty)
Of course, you’re going to need to give your eyes a little time to adjust to the dark, so it’s advisable to be outside for about 30 minutes before you really start watching for meteors.
A rain jacket and thermos flask of something warm may be advisable.
Quadrantids meteor shower 2023: Where does it come from?
The Quadrantids got their name because they appeared to come from a constellation called ‘Quadrans Muralis’, which was created in 1795 but is no longer recognised as a constellation.
The French astronomer Jérôme Lalande created the constellation that included portions of Boötes and Draco, but it has since fallen out of use.
As mentioned, the fragments of rock that burn up in our atmosphere come from the asteroid 2003 EH1.
The Quadrantids actually come from an asteroid (Credit: Getty)
‘Most meteor showers have a two-day peak, which makes catching sight of these other meteors much more possible,’ explains Nasa.
‘The Quadrantids peak, on the other hand, is much shorter—only a few hours.’
So your very best chance – providing the sky does offer some clear patches – to see the Quadrantids this year is tonight.