For meteor observers, the presence of an almost-full Moon cast a bright pall on this month's performance of the Geminid Meteor Shower, normally one of the best meteor displays of the year. But for a wild card, another very good meteor shower may be right around corner. And for this one, the Moon will not play a factor at all.
So, get out your 2009 calendar and put a big circle around Saturday morning, Jan. 3.
That's the expected peak date for the Quadrantids, a notoriously unpredictable meteor display. In 2009, peak activity is due to occur in the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 3 and will strongly favor western North America. If the "Quads" reach their full potential, observers blessed with clear, dark skies could be averaging one or two meteor sightings per minute in the hour or two prior to the break of dawn.
With the moon setting before the peak, it might prove to be a beautiful site for most of the USA. Bundle up and star gaze!