January is best known for the Quadrantids, which have the potential of being the best shower of the year. Unfortunately this shower is short lived and occurs during some of the worst weather in the northern hemisphere. Due to the high northern declination (celestial latitude) and short summer nights, little of this activity can be seen south of the equator. There are many very minor showers active throughout the month. Unfortunately most of these produce less than 1 shower member per hour and do not add much to the overall activity total. Activity gets interesting as seen from the southern hemisphere as ill-defined radiants in Vela, Carina, and Crux become active this month. This activity occurs during the entire first quarter of the year and moves eastward into Centaurus in February and ends in March with activity in Norma and Lupus. Sporadic rates are generally similar in both hemispheres this month. Sporadic rates are falling though for observers in the northern hemisphere and rising as seen from the southern hemisphere.
During this period the moon reaches its first quarter phase on Tuesday January 7th. At this time the moon will lie 90 degrees east of the sun and will set near midnight local standard time (LST) . This weekend the waxing crescent moon will set during the late evening hours and will not interfere with meteor observing during the more active morning hours. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 for observers located in the northern hemisphere and 2 for those viewing south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 18 for observers in the northern hemisphere and 10 for observers situated south of the equator. The actual rates will also depend on factors such as personal light and motion perception, local weather conditions, alertness and experience in watching meteor activity. Evening rates are reduced due to moonlight. Note that the hourly rates listed below are estimates as viewed from dark sky sites away from urban light sources. Observers viewing from urban areas will see less activity as only the brightest meteors will be visible from such locations.