During the summer, the largest number of “shooting stars” is observed, with the peak occurring in July. And every summer, skywatchers around the world look forward to seeing Perseid meteors, the “Old Faithfuls” of the annual meteor displays. However, most viewers will miss the six relatively small meteor showers that peak between July 26 and August 21 (three in July and three in August).
Unfortunately, this year’s almost full moon will seriously interfere with the observation of the Perseids. So why not take this opportunity to see the other six enjoying the dark, moonless skies?
Radiants for most of them meteor Rain will be concentrated in the southern sky between approximately 1:00 and 4:00 local time. A radiant is a place in the sky where the paths of meteors, if continued backwards, would intersect from a particular constellation. Many people are under the delusion that this is the best place to look for these meteors, but the radiant is actually an optical illusion: the meteors travel in parallel paths, but from our point of view, the meteors appear to be flying from that particular location in the sky.
Connected: Meteor Shower Guide 2022: Dates and Viewing Tips
So, basically, if you focus your gaze here, you will be looking mostly at the vanishing point or the void in the sky. Here you can only see a very rare stationary meteor – one that flies almost directly at you. In contrast, the greatest number of meteors can be seen at about 30 degrees from the radiant, in the general direction of the zenith, a point in the sky directly overhead. (Your fist at arm’s length corresponds to about 10 degrees of the sky.)
But most southerly showers make it more likely that any “shooting star” seen in late July or early August will come from the south.
In addition to shower meteors, there are always sporadic ones. Before midnight they average two or three per hour, and before dawn there can be as many as six or seven. The duration of meteor showers given here in days is somewhat arbitrary, since the beginning and end are gradual and indefinite.
Our information was collected from several sources – primarily from the book “Meteor shower – descriptive catalog” (will open in a new tab) (Enslow, 1988), Gary Kronk and the International Meteor Organization. Meteor shower calendar for 2022 (will open in a new tab).
This meteor shower peaks on July 26, although it lasts from July 10 to August 15. july new moon in just two days, and the radiant reaches its highest point – about 30 degrees – in the south at 1:40 am local daytime, conditions are almost ideal for looking for these bright meteors. stars Capricorns (Sea Goat) form a roughly triangular figure that may resemble an inverted cocked hat or perhaps a stingray swimming straight towards you. Only a few Capricornids will appear per hour, so most of the meteors seen will be either sporadic or members of another stream. A good way to separate them from each other is to imagine the trajectory of a meteor in the opposite direction across the sky. Does it pass near Capricorn? If so, it’s almost certainly a member of the soul.
This meteor shower lasts from July 15 to August 10, peaking on July 28. will be in a new phase, so you don’t have to worry about moonlight ruining the view. The radiant is close to the first-magnitude star Fomalhaut, which appears to be quite low—about 20 degrees, or two fists, above the southern horizon—at 3:15 AM. Due to its low altitude, this meteor shower is best seen from the Southern Hemisphere, where the radiant rises high into the sky and produces up to eight limbs per hour.
July 30 falls at the peak of the Delta Aquarid, the most abundant of the six minor showers that run from July 12 to August 23. Aquarius (Water-bearer) is depicted casually carrying a pitcher of water so that the water pours out. The jar of water is marked by a small triangle of dim stars with a fourth star in the center. Interestingly, this stream has two radiants, suggesting that we are observing two separate streams of celestial debris burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. One is located next to the star Aquarius Delta, and the other is next to a jug of water. This stream gives up to two dozen meteors per hour. Expect mostly weak meteors at medium speeds, and occasionally much brighter ones. The moon is still far off-screen, and both radiants reach their highest point in the south around 3:40 AM at about 40 degrees, meaning that viewing conditions will be favorable throughout the morning.
Another weak shower from Capricorn, which began around July 3rd, peaks on the same night as the Delta Aquarids (July 30th) and ends on August 15th. The radiant is 40 degrees above the horizon at one in the morning. often produce slow and bright (sometimes fireball-class) yellow meteors that can be quite impressive.
This is the last minor shower before the Perseids, and another double-beam shower that can detect elements from July 15 to August 25. At peak activity on August 6, a bright waxing bulging moon will set shortly after midnight, leaving the rest of the night dark for meteor sightings. At best, in good conditions, you can see six people per hour. The peak of radiants – 40 degrees in the south – at 2:15 am.
A waning, bulging moon, a full day and a half, will dominate the night sky from August 12 to 13 to ruin this year’s annual Perseid meteor shower display. A radiant that is close to the famous Double Star Cluster in the north Perseus, rises in the evening and is almost 70 degrees above the northern horizon at dawn. Had it not been for the moderating effect of moonlight, observers would have noticed a sharp increase in hourly speed, averaging over 60 meteors per hour, although doubling this speed has occasionally been observed. There are many flashing meteors with trails under the dark sky, but unfortunately, only the brightest of them will be visible in 2022. Usually this stream goes from July 25 to August 18.
Connected: Perseid Star Rain 2022: When, Where and How to See It
This is the last of the summer meteor showers with the following significant manifestation ( Orionids) will not arrive until the second half of October. Guest constellation Cygnus (Swan) is formed by a large figure of six stars, popularly called the Northern Cross, the long axis of which runs along Milky Way. Limits for this shower run from 3 to 25 August, with a peak on 17 August. But although the maximum speed is only three or four meteors per hour, this shower does produce slow-moving, sometimes brightly flashing fireballs, and a careful skywatcher can be generously rewarded for the time spent. At the peak of the night, the moon is waning and does not rise until about 10:30 pm, but the hours before midnight are still the best time to watch this shower. The star Kappa Cygnus, where these meteors appear to be coming from, is over 75 degrees above the northern horizon at 10:15 pm.
Joe Rao is an instructor and visiting lecturer at New York University. Hayden Planetarium (will open in a new tab). He writes about astronomy for Journal of Natural History (will open in a new tab), Farmers Almanac (will open in a new tab) and other publications. Follow us on Twitter @spacedot.com (will open in a new tab) and beyond facebook (will open in a new tab).
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