The Quadrantids meteor shower, always taking place in January, is an excellent time to say goodbye to the old and help ring in the new. Taking place after the new year in the Gregorian calendar, this year it is happening at the same time as the full moon in Capricorn.
That’s not all, this is the final meteor shower before the Lunar New Year begins on January 22nd! So grab a blanket and get ready to use the Quadrantids meteor shower to say hello to a bright, shiny new year!
What is a Meteor Shower?
Each meteor shower rains down upon earth annually, lighting up the sky with bright trails of light, but where does it come from? These trails of light are meteors which are made up of small pieces of space dust and debris that fall at high speeds through our planet’s atmosphere. Because these little pieces of space are falling so fast they leave behind brilliant streaks of sparkling light that can be observed by the naked eye here on Earth.
The space dust and debris falling is not random though, each meteor shower comes from a celestial object, usually a comet. The Quadrantids meteor shower is particularly unique due to the fact that its yearly light show comes from not 1 but at least 2 Comets, possibly many more!
In 2003 the comet 2003 EH1 was discovered after years of being in the dark about this shower’s origin. Recently, astronomers now believe that Comet 96P/Machholz is also a parent object of the Quadrantids. It’s believed that many, many years ago these two were part of a larger parent comet which broke apart around 100 CE to 950 CE. What this means is that there are potentially quite a few more comets which give birth to the Quadrantids meteor shower.
The Bootes constellation
Each meteor shower has something known as a radiant point, which is the area of the stars at which the meteor shower takes place from our vantage point here on Earth. However, the stars we see are many lightyears away and the comets which create the meteors are much closer, so it’s important to remember that the stars have always been a map which help us track the placements and movements of ourselves and our solar system.
You’re probably familiar with the 12 constellations of the zodiac, but there are over 70+ more noted constellations which create the full map of the night sky. The Quadrantids meteor shower is one that takes place in the outer constellations, with its radiant in the constellation of Bootes.
Bootes is a constellation that can only be viewed in the northern hemisphere due to the high northerly declination, so this meteor shower will only be seen by those who are far enough north on the globe. It has a very short window of viewing compared to other meteor showers, so your one night to see it this year will be on the night of January 3rd.
This year’s full moon in Cancer will be taking place on the 6th, so the moon will be 92% full on January 3rd, making this meteor shower tricky to see. The best time to view the shower will be early on January 4th just after moonfall but before sunrise.
The Year of the Water Rabbit
This is the final meteor shower before the Lunar New Year which takes place annually on the Aquarius new moon. This year’s Aquarius new moon takes place on January 22nd and thus enters us into the year of the water rabbit, however the Quadrantids relationship to the Lunar New Year is deeper than the sheer fact that it is the final meteor shower of the lunar year.
The brightest star in the northern hemisphere is called Arcturus and it is located in the Bootes constellation. Many Chinese constellations are incorporated in this constellation. Daijiao or “great horn” is the constellation which utilizes the star we know as Arcturus and has always been an important star due to its marking of the lunar new year.
Much like in Western astrology, the Chinese zodiac has 12 animal symbols: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each year is represented by one of these 12 animals, moving linearly from the rat to the pig, and after the year of the pig begins the year of the rat again.
2023 will be the year of the water rabbit. The water rabbit is thought of as gentle, intuitive, diplomatic, aloof, sensitive and sophisticated. This year promises to be a year of healing and hope after a more tumultuous water dragon year in 2022.
The Full Moon in Cancer
Before the healing year of the water rabbit begins we have a full moon in Cancer on the 6th, just a few days after the peak of the Quadrantids.
Full moons are a time of great power since the moon will be at peak brightness. Many say that this is a good moon phase for release, and while that might be true from time to time, full moons are best used for raising energy.
There are three important dates to think back to in order to help you realize what sort of energy you should be working with:
- December 23rd 2022–New moon in Capricorn and the most recent intention set for this moon cycle
- June 28th 2022–New moon in Cancer. Often our new moon intentions take a full 6 months to manifest
- January 17th 2022–The last full moon in Cancer
Sit down and think back to what the major themes, dramas and issues were during those three major moon phases to better understand how to work with this upcoming full moon. Next, after contemplating these dates in your life, I want you to think of one thing you can leave behind in 2022 and one thing you’d like to open yourself up to receiving in 2023.
Then go out early on January 4th, right before the sunrises to view the Quadrantids meteor shower as it lights up the night sky, and speak your intentions into the universe with each streak of light.