The Quadrantid meteor shower is rich but short-lived, so observers in the UK and Western Europe are likely to get the best views looking northeast between 12am and 4am GMT on Friday, 4 January 2019. This simulated view shows this aspect of the sky as seen from the heart of the British Isles at 2am GMT, the hour of the predicted maximum. It shows a quadrant of the sky centred on the northeast from horizon to overhead. AN graphic by Ade Ashford.If you enjoyed the terrestrial fireworks heralding the start of 2019, then it’s time to redirect your attention skyward for some celestial pyrotechnics from the Quadrantids – the year’s first major annual meteor shower – in the small hours of Friday, 4 January.
An extinct constellation
This shower of shooting stars is named after Quadrans Muralis (the mural quadrant), a now-defunct star group that used to lie in the space between our present-day constellations of Boötes and Draco. For its 28 December to 12 January duration, the Quadrantid radiant (the point in the sky from which the meteors appear to originate) sits in northern Boötes.
An extinct comet
The source of the Quadrantids is most likely a small solar ...