Get ready for “Shooting Star Saturday” when three meteor showers combine

Get ready for “Shooting Star Saturday” when three meteor showers combine

Are you ready for Shooting Star Saturday?

This Saturday evening — just before midnight and most likely into the early hours of Sunday morning — the Delta Aquarids meteor shower will peak. It comes at a time when reports of “fireballs” are increasing.

Surely it’s not as important as the famous Perseid meteor shower – the summer show of “shooting stars” that peaks in August?

There is bad news on this.

The Perseid meteor shower is the best of the year for Northern Hemisphere stargazers because it combines warm weather with over 100 possible “shooting stars” per hour.

The problem is that this year’s peak night – the 12th/13th. August – coincides with a full moon.

A full moon is bright enough to bleach the night sky of stars – and definitely “shooting stars” – and to make matters worse, it’s up all night.

So for this year, it’s best to avoid the peak night of the Perseid meteor shower. Don’t go camping, don’t plan shooting star parties, don’t even bother star gazing. Moonview only.

Instead, stay outside and in a dark place this Saturday night because you’ll likely see not only some early Perseids, but also the peak of the Delta Aquarids. You may also see some of the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower, which will also peak.

Here’s everything you need to know about the three meteor showers hitting dark skies near you this weekend:

What, When and Where is the Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower?

Date: July 18 to August 21, 2022

Peak night: 30./31. July 2022

Radiant point: constellation Aquarius

About 10 to 20 “shooting stars” per hour are expected from the peak of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower, which will occur in dark, moonless skies (the waxing crescent moon will only be 3% lit and will set shortly after the sun sets). .

A dark sky will help you see them more easily, although you’ll likely see more meteors the further south you go.

The Delta Aquarid meteor shower is caused by dust and debris left in the inner Solar System by Comet 96P/Machholz.

What, When and Where is the Alpha Capricorn Meteor Shower?

Date: July 7 to August 15, 2022

Peak night: 30./31. July 2022

Radiant point: constellation Capricorn

Alpha Capricorns are a small meteor shower that delivers a few slow-moving “shooting stars” per hour.

Like the delta aquarids, they appear to come from the southern sky as seen from the northern hemisphere. They are caused by debris from the debris comet 169P/NEAT.

What, when and where is the Perseid meteor shower?

Date: July 7 to August 24, 2022

Peak night: 12./13. Aug 2022

Radiant point: constellation Perseus

The Perseid meteor shower is the most popular “shooting star” display of the year. They are caused by comet Swift-Tuttle, which last crossed the solar system in 1992 on its 133-year orbit around the sun.

Perseids are known for being both colorful and having bright, persistent trails, and up to 100 Perseids can be counted per hour, although you can typically see around 50 per hour.

Since you see them a good 10 nights before their peak you won’t see that many, but maybe five or ten. They seem to shoot out of the northwest sky.

When the three meteor showers combine

OK, so it won’t be the prettiest display of “shooting stars” the world has ever seen, but it’s the best we’ve got in 2022. Practically we’re talking maybe 10 an hour from the Delta Aquarids and another 10 or so from the Perseids – which together makes it potentially pretty good!

Thursday, July 28th is the new moon. This makes the night sky moonless on July 29, 30, and 31 after midnight. So if it is on 30./31. July is clear you can see the peak of the Delta Aquarids and some additional “shooting stars” from the waxing Perseids and the Alpha Capricorns.

Good luck – and here’s a top tip: put your smartphone away!

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.

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