Quadrantid meteor shower, one of the best of the year, peaking now at the wrong time

Meteors streaking over a nighttime Earth with city lights seen from space.


Early each January, the Quadrantid meteor stream provides one of the most intense annual meteor displays, with a brief, sharp maximum lasting only a few hours. 

The Quadrantid meteor shower actually radiates from the northeast corner of the constellation of Bootes, the Herdsman, so we might expect them to be called the “Bootids,” and they will peak in 2023 overnight on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4. But back in the late-18th century there was a constellation here called Quadrans Muralis, the “Mural or Wall Quadrant” (an astronomical instrument). It is long-obsolete star pattern, invented in 1795 by J.J. Lalande to commemorate the instrument used to observe the stars in his catalogue.