Posted at 12:29 PM ET, 01/03/2012

Quadrantid meteor shower, first of the year, peaks tonight

The Quadrantid meteor shower is unpredictable and sometimes difficult to see, but skygazers say tonight will be clear and dark enough that the first meteor shower of the year may also be the best.

The Quadrantid meteor shower in 2009. (Mila Zinkova - Wikipedia commons)
An intense shower described in the Christian Science Monitor as “bright and bluish with long silvery trains,” the Quantratids will appear in the sky at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Discovered in the 1830s and named after an obsolete constellation, the shower will be visible between the Draco and Bootes constellations.

(IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg) - Via Wikipedia Creative Commons)
The Christian Science Monitor explains that the Quantratids are often elusive in part because their intensity is “exceedingly sharp,” but also because of January’s propensity for bright moonlight and inclement weather — neither of which are expected be present tonight..

To best catch the celestial event, check out a sky map of the shower at or watch this handy video on how to best watch a meteor shower, via Howcast:

By  |  12:29 PM ET, 01/03/2012

Tags:  National, meteor shower, Quadrantid

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company