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How to Watch the Quadrantid Meteor Shower in California

How to Watch the Quadrantid Meteor Shower in California

Catch the first big meteor shower of the year with our guide on how to watch the Quadrantid meteor shower in California. Team


1 min read

December 28, 2023

California offers a fantastic viewing platform for one of nature's most dazzling shows: the Quadrantid Meteor Shower. Why not spend the first part of the new year viewing this celestial event, known for its brief but intense peak, whether you're an amateur stargazer or an experienced astronomer. Here’s your guide to enjoying the Quadrantids in the Golden State.

When to Watch

The 2024 Quadrantid Meteor Shower is set to peak on the night of January 3-4, with the best viewing times being late night on January 3 through to dawn on January 4. This year's peak is predicted at 12:53 UTC (4:53 AM PST) on January 4, according to information from EarthSky. However, a bright last quarter moon, rising around midnight, may affect visibility. 

The Quadrantids can be a spectacular show under the right conditions. In a dark sky with no moon, this meteor shower can briefly produce over 100 meteors per hour. The radiant – the point in the sky from which the meteors appear to originate – is near the Big Dipper,

Best Viewing Spots in California

To maximize your chances of a breathtaking view, head to areas with minimal light pollution. National parks, beaches, and remote desert locations offer some of the best vantage points. Places like Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and the beaches along the Central Coast are ideal for stargazing.

You also could do well looking out in your backyard if you're sufficiently away from areas with high light pollution. Definitely head out into the backyard or even sit on the roof to take in this awesome meteor shower. The Quadrantid meteor shower has a broad activity window, running from mid-November through mid-January. While the peak is short-lived, you might still catch a glimpse of a Quadrantid meteor outside these peak hours.\

Tips for the Best Experience

  1. Dress Warmly: January nights can be cold, especially in the desert or at higher elevations.
  2. Allow for Dark Adaptation: Give your eyes at least 15-20 minutes to adjust to the darkness for optimal meteor spotting.
  3. Bring Binoculars: While meteors can be seen with the naked eye, binoculars might enhance your viewing experience.
  4. Check the Weather: Clear skies are crucial for meteor watching, so check the forecast before heading out.

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower is a unique astronomical event, and California provides numerous perfect spots to enjoy it. While the moonlight might pose a challenge this year, the promise of over 100 meteors per hour at its peak makes it an event not to be missed. So grab a blanket, pack some hot cocoa, and prepare for an unforgettable night under the Californian sky.

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