The first major meteor shower of 2024 – the Quadrantid meteor shower – will peak in the overnight hours of Wednesday, January 3, and Thursday, January 4.
The Quadrantid meteor shower is one of a handful of annual meteor showers with a very narrow peak, which only lasts about six hours. The best time for viewing will likely be the early morning hours of January 4, with a predicted peak time of around 5:00 a.m. for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.
Under a dark sky with no moon, the Quadrantids can briefly produce more than 100 meteors per hour, potentially making it one of the biggest meteor showers of the year.
The Quadrantid meteor shower runs from mid-November through mid-January each year, but is one of four major meteor showers with a sharp and distinctive peak timeframe. (The other three are the Lyrids in April, the Leonids in November, and the Ursids in December.)
With rainy conditions forecasted for the Outer Banks through Thursday morning, viewing conditions for the overnight show are not optimal. Nevertheless, skywatchers are advised to look up and keep an eye out for stray meteors in the days ahead, as the Quadrantid meteor shower quietly continues until the middle of January.
For more information on night sky highlights in January, click here.