Stargazers will have quite a treat to look forward to this month as the first meteor shower of 2024, the Quadrantids, will peak on Thursday, January 4. The shower itself has been active since December 26, and it will continue to be visible in the night sky throughout January 16, 2024. However, the best time to see this first shower of the year is this coming Thursday.
NASA says that the first annual meteor shower of the year could even be the best, with the Quadrantids capable of offering up to 120 shooting stars per hour during the peak time. But when exactly is that peak time? Well, according to EarthSky, the Quadrantids will peak at 7:53 a.m. ET on January 4, 2024. EarthSky highlights more info about the upcoming peak in the video embedded below.
To get the best view of the shower and possibly see the most shooting stars with this first meteor shower of 2024, you’ll want to head outside at around 4:50 a.m. ET and then continue to watch the sky until dawn, as the sun will eventually hide the meteors from view. The Quadrantids often have the potential to be the best shower of the year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always live up to that hype.
It’s unclear year if the weather will remain clear enough for a strong shower, or if it will fall short again this year. Still, even if you only see a few meteors, getting a seat outside during the first meteor shower of the year is something that skywatchers and stargazers alike will be happy to take part in.
The moon is also expected to be at half illumination, which may make it more difficult for some viewers in the United States to get a good look at the shooting stars created by the Quadrantids. And, due to the short peak time, it’s likely that there won’t be many of these meteors with long, persistent trains behind them. Instead, you’ll probably see more fireballs than anything.