Look out on 4 meteor showers at once!
The second summer month will bring us several stunning meteor showers that should be active from now into August. During their peaks, observers could see up to 10 to 60 shower members per hour under dark skies! Let’s check out together when where and how we can catch these “shooting stars” moving across the night sky.
At the end of July, we are waiting for a two dueling meteor showers that will reach their peaks on the same night. Both the Southern delta Aquariids and the Alpha Capricornids are going to be at its best from the late night of July 29 until the early hours of July 30. Under ideal conditions the combined total rate of colourful meteors produced by this pair of meteor showers is expected to be around 20 to 25 per hour.
True delta Aquariids will appear to radiate from a point in space (the shower’s radiant) near the bright star Delta Aquarii, which is the third-brightest star in the constellation of Aquarius. As for Alpha Capricornids, its radiant point is located in Capricornus and moves across the sky. So, they appear to come close to the constellation boundary with Aquila and Aquarius.
The arrival of the Southern Delta Aquarids and the Alpha Capricornids will coincide with another annual meteor shower known as the Piscis Austrinids that radiate from an area to the west of the bright star Fomalhaut in the southwestern constellation of Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish. This meteor shower is usually active between July 15–August 10, peaking around July 28. On the date of maximum activity, you may see as many as 5 to 10 meteors per hour in a dark sky.
These three showers – the Southern Delta Aquariids, Alpha Capricornids and Pisces Austrinids – are best seen from the southern latitudes, but they can also be observed from northern hemisphere. This year, the waning crescent moon won't interfere with viewing. Anyway, regardless of your location, it’s better to start watching just after midnight but before moonrise.
Also happening at around the same time is the Perseid meteor shower, which normally extended from July 17 to August 24. The radiant point of Perseids lies near the border of the constellations Perseus and Cassiopeia, not far from the Double Cluster in Perseus. Unfortunately, during the shower’s peak around the morning of August 13 gibbous moon will wash out all but the brightest meteors this year. Start your meteor-watching with Star Walk 2, identify the radiant position and take a chance to see them right now!