As seen from the northern hemisphere, March is the slowest month for meteor activity. No major annual showers are active and only two very weak minor showers produce activity this month. The sporadic rates are also near their annual minimum so there is not much to look forward to this month except for the evening fireballs that seem to peak this time of year from the northern hemisphere. This could be due to the fact the Antiapex radiant lies highest above the horizon this time of year during the evening hours. From the southern hemisphere, activity from the Centaurid complex begins to wane with only the weak activity visible from Norma and perhaps others areas nearby.
During this period the moon reaches its new phase on Tuesday February 21st. At that time the moon will be located near the sun and will not be visible at night. This will be the best time this month to view meteor activity. This weekend the waning crescent moon will rise during the late morning hours and will not interfere with meteor observations. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near three for observers in the northern hemisphere and five for those south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near seven as seen from mid-northern latitudes and fourteen from mid-southern latitudes.
February offers the meteor observer in the northern hemisphere a couple of weak showers plus falling sporadic rates. This may not seem too exiting but you never know when surprises are in store. An errant earthgrazer from the Centaurid complex may shoot northward. Better yet, a bright fireball may light up the sky. February is the start of the fireball season, when an abundance of fireballs seem to occur.
During this period the moon reaches its new phase on Monday January 23rd. At this time the moon will be located near the sun and will not be visible at night. This will be the best time of the month to try and view meteor activity as the moon will not interfere with observations, no matter the time of night. As the week progresses the waxing crescent moon will enter the evening sky but will set long before the active morning hours arrive. The estimated total hourly rates for evening observers this week is near three no matter your location.
During this period the moon reaches it full phase on Monday January 9th. At this time the moon will be located opposite the sun and will be above the horizon the entire night. This is the worst time to try and view meteor activity as the glare from the bright moon will obscure all but the brightest meteors. As the week progresses a small window of dark skies is available between the end of evening twilight and moonrise. Unfortunately this is the worst time of night to try and view meteor activity as rates will only be a couple of meteors per hour. Conditions improve next week as the moon passes its last quarter phase.
January is best known for the Quadrantids, which have the potential of being the best shower of the year. Unfortunately this shower is short lived and occurs during some of the worst weather in the northern hemisphere. Due to the high northern declination (celestial latitude) and short summer nights, little of this activity can be seen south of the equator. Sporadic rates are generally similar in both hemispheres this month.