Quarantids meteor shower: When is it and how can you see it?

Skygazers could witness the first meteor shower of 2023 (Danny Lawson / PA)
Skygazers could witness the first meteor shower of 2023 (Danny Lawson / PA)

Up to 110 meteors an hour might be seen in the sky over the UK this week as the Quadrantid meteor shower makes an appearance.

The Quadrantid meteor shower, which has a sharp maximum lasting only a few hours, produces one of the most dramatic annual meteor displays every year.

This year, there are two things to think about if you want to see the Quadrantid meteor shower: the time the shower peaks, where you are, and the height of the quadrant in the night sky where the meteors appear to come from.

The next significant meteor shower won't occur until April so, if the weather is good where you are, think about making the effort to get outside early and look skyward.

When is the Quadrantid meteor shower?

The Quadrantid meteor shower lasts from December 28, 2022 to January 12, 2023, and will reach its highest point overnight on January 3-4.

The official peak occurs on January 4 at 3am.

How to view the Quadrantid meteor shower 2023

Stay away from street lights and other light-pollution sources in order to maximise your chances of catching the Quadrantid meteor shower.

You should give your eyes around 30 minutes to get used to the dark. You should also be ready to spend some time outside, so dress warmly.

Unfortunately, the weather is not at its best for observing the night sky, as rain is forecast for most of the country.

Another potential challenge is that the moon will be about 92 per cent full on Wednesday morning, so you may need to adjust your viewing plan to put the bright moon at your back.

When a Quadrantid meteor shoots across the sky, what you’re actually seeing is a mote or pebble-sized fragment of the astroid 2003 EH1, which some astronomers think might be a “dead” comet or a new type of object frequently referred to as a “rock comet”.

Our planet passes through this stream of trash every January, as a result of the debris EH1 has left behind over the years.