The Quadrantid meteor shower is named for an extinct constellation, but the shooting stars that seem to sprout from it still arrive yearly, and the opening of the 2013 show will begin overnight Jan. 1 into Jan. 2.
The Quadrantids is one of the lesser-known meteor showers of the year, but that doesn't mean it's anything less than spectacular. Take a look at this Quadrantids meteor shower video or these pictures of the Quadrantids.
While the shower begins overnight on the first day of the new 2013 year, NASA tells us Quadrantid meteor shower peaks in the wee morning hours of Jan. 4: "[T]he Quadrantids have a maximum rate of about 100 per hour, varying between 60-200. The waxing gibbous moon will set around 3 a.m. local time, leaving about two hours of excellent meteor observing before dawn."
If you blink you might miss the Quadrantids Meteor Shower 2013. It peaks in the hours right before dawn on Jan. 3, with a maximum number of meteors per hour of about 80.
The Quadrantids come from an asteroid called 2003 EH1, just as the Geminids did in early December. Meteor showers usually are named based on the constellations where they originate. Quadrans Muralis (mural quadrant) is located where Hercules, Bootes and Draco meet.
Tips for best viewing of the meteor shower
The meteor shower is expected to "last only a few hours," according to NASA.com. That means you should look for it in the the night of Jan. 2-3, not the night of Jan. 3-4. The moon will set after midnight, so the best time to view the meteors will be between then and sunrise at about 7:50 a.m.
"Face the general direction of north-northeast, but take in as wide an expanse of sky as possible. Watch from about 2 a.m. until dawn," Earthsky writes.
If there is cloud cover in St. Louis on that night, you can watch a Ustream feed of the meteor shower on Jan. 2-4 on NASA.com.
If you live in Clayton or Richmond Heights, it might take a drive to find a place not polluted by light. Do you have a spot?
Patch editors Kevira Voegele and Todd Richissin contributed to this report.