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Quadrantids Meteor Shower January

Quadrantids (QUA) First Meteor Shower of the Year

Quadrantids Active (normal limits) from 28 December to 12 January - peak activity 2021 03rd January

First Meteor Shower of the year; the Quadrantids Meteor Shower



Quadrantids Meteor Shower

Quick Reference data


Quadrantids produce faint Blue and Yellow meteors.

The Quadrantids produce meteors which are fainter than other regular meteor showers, but on the positive side they can produce fireballs with large glowing tails.


Parent Body: asteroid 2003 EH1. The asteroid takes approximately 5.5 years to orbit the Sun.


Radiant point of the Quadrantids:  Constellation Boötes


Quadrantids 2017 observable conditions: favourable: Peak activity: 03rd January 15:00 GMT/UT Peak activity: 03rd January 15:00 GMT/UT A  waxing crescent moon  on the 3rd Janurary will make good viewing conditions.


Quadrantids is a short lived shower. High activity but narrow peak of only about 6 hours.


Quadrantids Normal limits of activity: 28 Dec to 12 Jan.


Quadrantids Peak predicted activity 2021:

03 January  14:30 GMT/UT.


Quadrantids Meteor Velocity; entering Earth’s atmosphere at: approximately: 25.5 miles per second / 91,799.99 mph / 41 kilometres per second / 147,600 Kilometres per hour


Zenithal hourly rate (ZHR): peak at 80-120 meteors per hour.


ZHR important note:  The Quadrantids are difficult to accurately predict as this shower is extremely unpredictable and is not constant, however at peak expect ZHR activity of approximately 80 to 120 meteors per hour.


During 1992 the Quadantids were strong.


The Quadrantids Meteor shower is less observed then the Perseids or Germinids


The Quadrantids Meteor shower is less observed then the Perseids or the Geminids meteor showers. The reason is that the Quadrantids peak lasts only for a few hours, while the others last for a day or more, and if you miss the peak activity of the Quadrantids, which is easily done, you are unlikely to see many meteors. The waxing crescent moon on the 3rd Janurary will make good viewing conditions.    


The Quadrantids favours the Northern Hemisphere because its radiant point is far north on the sky’s dome,


The radiant point of the Quadrantids comes from an area of the constellation Boötes

The radiant point of the Quadrantids comes from an area of the constellation Boötes, near its northern tip and not far from the end of the handle of the Big Dipper and south of the constellation Draco. This Quadrantids are best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere, but can be seen dpwn to  -51 degrees latitude, but activity at such low latitudes is low.  


How to observe the Quarantids

You do not need to look at the radiant to observe the Quadrantids. Nor do you need to find the handle of The Plough (Big Dipper) (Ursa Major) or the Constellation of Boötes.  To maximise the number of meteors that can be observed, stand with your back to the Moon, and if possible in the shade of a wall or tree, or anything that hides the glare of the Moon, and look high northwards.  


Cities and large towns, street lamps and other artificial lighting will interfere with observations, so a dark place is recommended. The Moon is bright and is almost full and it will be challenging enough to view meteors in a dark place, without the added glare of a town or city.

If you are privileged to have a dark area from which to observe, and have a little patience and wait long enough, we can’t promise it, but you may see some bright blue and yellow meteors streak across part of the sky.


The Quadrantids is named after a constellation

that no longer exists.



The Quadrantids is named after a constellation that no longer exists. (Quadrans Muralis or ‘Mural Quadrant’ which was created in 1795 by French astronomer Jerome Lalande).  


Most meteor showers are named for the constellations from which they appear to radiate. It was the same for the Quadrantids, which used to be located between the constellations of Bootes and Draco. In January 1825, Antonio Brucalassi from Italy reported that “the atmosphere was traversed by a multitude of the luminous bodies known by the name of falling stars.” which appeared to radiate from Quadrans Muralis.


In 1839, Edward C. Herrick of Connecticut and Adolphe Quetelet of the Brussels Observatory in Belgium, both independently made the suggestion that the Quadrantids is an annual shower. However, during 1922  the International Astronomical Union ‘IAU’ devised a list of 88 modern constellations, and they were agreed upon by the IAU at its inaugural General Assembly held in Rome in May of 1922.


The new devised list of constellations did not include Quadrans Muralis (Mural Quadrant). The shower retains its original name ‘The Quadrantids’ but the radiant point for the Quadrantids is now considered to be the northern tip of Boötes, and south of Ursa Major (The Big Dipper).



Click diagram of Quadrantid Meteor Shower to view larger image.

Above Quadrantids Diagram Northern Hemisphere view:



Blue and Yellow meteors.

Normal limits of activity: 28 December to 12 January.


2021: Peak activity: 03rd January 14:30 GMT/UT


Observable conditions:

unfavourable due to waxing gibbous Moon.





This image is relevant to Quadrantids Meteor Shower 2015

Quadrantids Active (normal limits) from 01 to 06 January - peak activity 04 January

Quadrantids (QUA) Meteor Shower

Sky Map showing radient of the Quadrantids


Eclipse Geeks used Stellarium to prodice skymap.

Meteor Shower Quadrantids January 2018

2018 - The Moon will be 17 days old at the time of peak activity, and being so close to Full Moon will severely limit the observations that will be possible.

Waning Gibbous


3rd January 4th January 2018

Moon Age 16 days - 98% Visible

Moon Age 17 days - 92% Visible


The Moon Phases of January 2018 will greatly hinder observation of the Quadrantids Meteor Shower.


Quadrantids 2018 viewing conditions are unfavourable.

Double click to insert body text here ...


Quadrantids Meteor Shower 2015

Northern Hemisphere view:

Coordinates:  51.2667° N, 1.0876° W


Why is the peak activity of the Quadrantids so short and only lasts for about 6 hours?  



The reason why peak the activity of the Quadrantids is so short (around 6 hours) is due to two factors, the Quadrantids stream of particles are thin; secondly, their stream crosses Earth at a perpendicular angle.