By Will Sullivan
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
If you missed this month’s usually spectacular Geminid meteor shower, due to the full moon’s brightness—or the Perseids back in August—you may get a relatively rare chance to check out another meteor event in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 3, 2009: the unpredictable Quadrantids.
Unlike the Geminid or Perseid showers, the Quadrantid shower lasts only for a few hours—from say 2:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., and probably best right before dawn—and pretty much can only can be seen at its best in western North America. Still, this coming event will not be outshined by the moon, so if atmospheric conditions permit where you live in the western half of the U.S. or Canada, head for a wild spot away from ambient city light: you can expect one or two every minute at the peak. Even in the east, you might be able to see 30-60 per hour, in that very last hour before dawn. Mark your calendars!