Like planets, constellations can come and go.

We all still know Pluto, which was downgraded from its status as a planet in 2006. Pluto continues to reside in the heavens but is no longer considered a planet. Debate continues to rage as to whether this loss of status is appropriate.

No one, however, is fighting for Quadrans Muralis, also known as the mural quadrant. Nor are you likely to know this former star grouping, as it no longer exists as a constellation. Like Pluto, it is still up there but doesn’t maintain its previous status.

The mural quadrant constellation was created and described by French astronomer Joseph Jérôme Lefrançois de Lalande in 1795 and was originally called Le Murale. It was located between the constellations Boötes and Draco, near the tail of Ursa Major. The constellation didn’t last long in nomenclature or size.

Le Murale was renamed and shrunk in 1801 by Johann Elert Bode. The final curtain call for this constellation came in 1922 after the International Astronomical Union omitted it from their list of officially recognized constellations. But all isn’t lost for this lost constellation since its name is preserved through the Quadrantid Meteor shower. The Quadrantids are the first meteor shower seen annually and will peak this year on the night of Jan.3 into the dawn of Jan. 4.

This year portends a successful sighting if the weather cooperates, as moonlight will be limited, allowing for a dark night for the shooting stars that this shower could bring.

The Quadrantids could appear to those of us only in the Northern Hemisphere. They will radiate from the site of the former mural quadrant; or to use a current constellation as a reference point, the meteors will materialize at a right angle to the Big Dipper. This year, the Quadrantids are expected to showcase 40 shooting stars per hour at their peak, though in some years they can produce up to 100 per hour when conditions are right.

If you are not sure what you are looking at when you see a meteor or shooting star, consider this primer: meteor showers occur when a comet sheds bits of icy and rocky debris along its orbit. If these debris trails are in the path of the earth’s orbit, they will vaporize in the earth’s atmosphere and cause the meteors that we often refer to as shooting stars. Usually, these bits burn up completely, but sometimes one can get through and will fall to the earth as a meteoroid. What is left from this flaming fall, and once it has reached the earth’s surface, is a meteorite.

With the start of the New Year, let’s hope for a good star show and a reminder of the lesser-known astronomer who is responsible for its name. Don’t feel too sorry for Lalande–who has a crater on the moon named for him, as well as his name inscribed on the Eiffel Tower–as he still has a place in the heavens (and in Paris), even if his constellation does not.

Suzan Bellincampi is director of the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Edgartown, and author of Martha’s Vineyard: A Field Guide to Island Nature and The Nature of Martha’s Vineyard.