This spectacular fireball is an early shot of the first meteor shower of the year, captured on January 2 by Brian Emfinger. If you want to catch your own, get ready! The peak activity will be tomorrow. Here's how to enjoy them:
Where to look at?
The Quadrantids radiate from the constellation Bootes (The Herdsman), so that's were you want to look at. In fact, they are also called the Bootids. Traditionally they are called the Quadrantids because they originated from the constellation Quadrant Murales, which is now dead.
Depending on where you are and the time of the day the constellation would appear in a different part of the horizon. Bootes will rise almost at 1am. The best thing you can do is use an iPhone or Android phone.
Is there any app for that?
For iPhone and iPad I recommend two excellent astronomy apps: Distant Suns 3 ($6) or Star Walk ($5). For Android, you can try Sky Map. It's not nearly as awesome and complete as the Distant Suns or Star Walk, but it's free!
Where should I watch it from?
Get away from the city or any light source. That's the worst enemy of shooting star chasers. Luckily for you, the moon will set at 3am, which will give you plenty of dark time to enjoy the fireball show. If the weather is good, it will be a great show.
How long does it last?
Keep your eyes peeled, because this one lasts only a few hours. But the results can be like the ones in the photo, so it's is worth it.
Do I need any special device?
No, you don't, but a good pair of binoculars could enhance the show. Also, get your camera ready on a tripod. To get the above, Brian Emfinger used a Canon T1i camera with 8mm Fisheye lens at F3.5 and ISO3200, exposing for 30 seconds.
Any other advice?
Use a comfy chair and remember to wear plenty of winter clothes. It's going to be cold and you will be sitting still for some hours, so you want to be comfortable and warm.