Ring in the new year this week with 2024’s first big observational event — the Quadrantid meteor shower. The show will peak on the night of Jan. 3/4 with as many as 120 meteors per hour in a dark sky. But as with any meteor shower, you can see meteors for a number of days on either side — meaning you may already see some Quadrantids in the night sky tonight.
The Quadrantids are so named because its radiant — the point from which its meteors appear to come — happens to be located in constellation is located in the now-defunct constellation of Quadrans Muralis. This constellation was invented by French astronomer Jérôme Lalande in 1795, but it was not adopted by the International Astronomical Union when it formalized its list of 88 modern constellations in the early 20th century. Today, the radiant of the Quadrantids is located in the modern constellation Boötes.
For more on constellations that have fallen by the wayside, check out Contributing Editor Michael Bakich’s story from our February 2019 issue.
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