We start off the new year with a generally reliable meteor shower, the Quadrantids. Within the last decade researchers have discovered the parent body (source) of the meteors—a defunct comet which now looks like an asteroid or minor planet, named 2003EH1. The radiant point is in the constellation Bootes, near the end of the Big Dipper’s handle. Though low above the horizon early in the evening, the radiant will be at its highest elevation just before dawn. Look towards the northern horizon and scan to the zenith (directly overhead) early in the morning, just after midnight. The Quadrantids perform best between midnight and dawn.
This shooting star display normally produces about 40 bright and fast (25.5 miles per second) meteors per hour at peak. However, do keep in mind that the Quads have a very sharp peak, usually lasting only about an hour or so. During that time an observer can possibly see up to 100 meteors. Remember, I said possibly. I (David A. Huestis, Historian, Skyscrapers, Inc.) know that fact from first-hand experience. Many moons ago I observed the Quadrantids until 4:00 am, then retired due to the cold and lack of meteors. At 4:15 am, I later learned, the heavens opened up and for about an hour the rate reached somewhere between 80 & 100 meteors. Then just as quickly as the meteor activity increased, it subsided just as fast. That's the Quadrantids!
Meteor shower rates are educated guesses based upon past observations and more recent research.
Whatever the numbers, the bright and blue Quads often blaze more than halfway across the sky, and a small percentage of those leave persistent dust trains.