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It's my first time going to see the Quadrantids Meteor Shower, or any meteor shower in fact. I just want to know if I'm getting the right info for viewing this event. I got my info from this site Timeanddate.com. My location is Penang, Malaysia. Peak time: 5th Jan 2020

To my knowledge,

  • I won't be able to witness the event earlier than 4am because the position of the radiant is below the horizon.
  • I will need to be at a dark area (using this as a guide)
  • I will need to be facing 32-41 degrees northeast of True North. For this I will be using Google Maps instead of a compass because compass is magnetic North?
  • I will need to look for it at 6 to 33 degrees above horizon (depending on the time)
  • A local article such as this can't be trusted because it says you can view it from 11pm (there are many sites other local sites claiming you can see the event starting from 11pm)

Good to go?

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  • $\begingroup$ Any luck seeing meteors? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 5 at 2:12
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    $\begingroup$ yes we saw around 25ish meteors from 4:30am to 6:30am local time. Even though not as many as the ZHR it was still pretty awesome $\endgroup$ – C. Wagner Jan 5 at 3:29
  • $\begingroup$ excellent! perseverance pays off $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 5 at 5:01
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You are mostly correct: a dark site is desirable, and the altitude of the radiant affects the observed hourly rate. However, meteors can appear in any part of the sky; you need not face the radiant exactly. The American Meteor Society recommends:

The best strategy to see the most activity is to face the northeast quadrant of the sky and center your view about half-way up in the sky. By facing this direction you be able to see meteors shoot out of the radiant in all directions. This will make it easy to differentiate between the Quadrantids and random meteors from other sources.

Fortunately the Moon does not interfere this year. Unfortunately for Malaysian observers, the narrow peak is expected 10 hours after astronomical twilight on Jan 4, and 11 hours before the radiant rises on Jan 5. Weather permitting, between 4 and 6 AM, Quadrantid meteors may be visible in your area at less than half the peak rate.

Moon phase and shower peak time vary from year to year, and most other showers have broader peaks. Good luck!

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Quick answer because the shower is tonight.

For any given meteor shower in a given year (e.g. Quadrantids, now) where can I see a rough prediction of how many days it will last?

The PDF linked on the page linked in the answer there says the shower is unusually short (FWHM of 4 hours) and the maximum is at 08:00 UTC which is 4 PM where I am and must be similar there, so its already getting weaker by nightfall, so you should start watching BEFORE the radiant rises because while their trails all appear to "radiate" away from the radiant, they go in all directions. I'd say start checking around midnight looking in the direction where the radiant will rise later, which I suppose must be at least roughly EAST.

Try to find a viewing location with an unobstructed and dark eastern sky.

Keep watching all night of course, as the radiant rises more could be seen geometrically even though the number may be decreasing for other reasons, and after all that's only a prediction and not guaranteed.

At least it's not as short as this one! What makes some meteor showers continue for days, while the "Unicorn shower" can be shorter than one hour?

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