January Meteor Showers 2024: Shooting Stars Tonight

Star Walk
3 min readDec 29, 2023
© Vito Technology, Inc.

In January 2024, two meteor showers will reach their peaks of activity. Read on to learn when it’s best to observe them in the sky.

January 4: Quadrantids

  • ZHR: 80 (can vary from 60 to 200)
  • Moon illumination: 50%
  • Active: December 28 — January 12
  • Radiant location: constellation Bootes
  • Visible from: Northern Hemisphere
  • Visibility forecast: This year, the Quadrantids coincide with the Last Quarter Moon, which rises around midnight local time, giving you several hours of dark skies for observations. The predicted peak of activity for the Quadrantids is around 13:00 GMT, although the actual time will vary. The peak of this meteor shower lasts only about 6 hours, so it’s better to keep an eye out for this celestial spectacle from the very beginning of the night.
  • Description: The Quadrantids are one of the strongest meteor showers of the year. They can produce up to 200 meteors per hour, but the average hourly rate doesn’t exceed 25 meteors. However, they are known for their bright, colorful fireballs. These fireballs can be seen even a few days after the meteor shower’s peak. Given the clear dark sky and good weather, they can provide a spectacular show. For more information and tips on observing the Quadrantids, see our dedicated article.

January 19: Gamma-Ursae Minorids

  • ZHR: 3
  • Moon illumination: 66%
  • Active: January 10–22
  • Radiant location: constellation Ursa Minor
  • Visible from: Northern Hemisphere
  • Visibility forecast: In 2024, the observing conditions for the Gamma-Ursae Minorids (γ-Ursae Minorids) are good enough. The meteor shower occurs the next day after the First Quarter Moon. So it’s best to observe the Gamma Ursae Minorids after midnight local time when the Moon sets.
  • Description: γ-Ursae Minorids have little to boast about — it’s a weak meteor stream with a peak rate of only three meteors per hour. It has been annually observed by the International Meteor Organisation but is not well studied yet.

How to see the most shooting stars in January 2024?

For any meteor shower, the higher the radiant in the sky, the more meteors you are likely to see. If you want to know the position of the radiant for your location, use our stargazing app Sky Tonight:

  • Open the app and type the name of the meteor shower in the search field.
  • Tap on the radiant of the fitting meteor shower and go to the “Events” tab.
  • The middle time in the “Visible Passes” section indicates the time of the radiant’s highest position in the sky. Tap on it to see where the radiant will be on the sky map.

For more tips on observing meteor showers, read our dedicated article. And take our quiz about shooting stars to test your meteor hunting skills!

Shooting stars in January 2024: Conclusion

Two meteor showers reach their peak in January 2024. The Quadrantids are the most promising of them, producing around 80 meteors per hour during their peak. While the Gamma-Ursae Minorids are much less productive, with up to 3 meteors per hour at their peak, you might try your luck with them as well.

We wish you clear skies and happy observations!

Text Credit: Vito Technology, Inc.



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