May is very nearly upon us, and that means so is a list of meteor shower dates you can plonk in your diary to ensure you don’t miss them. You may have caught the latest shower, Lyrids that we around in our skies between the 21st and 22nd of April, but in case you missed it here is a list of all the stunning showers you may be able to spot in the future.
May 5-6: Eta Aquariids
The Eta Aquariids are associated with the famous Halleys comet. Whilst you may be able to spot these comments around April 19th up until May 29th each year, the meteor shower reaches it’s peak around the 5th and 6th of May, making that the time to see them best. Due to the huge moon, we’re scheduled to have around this time, you may be better off looking out for these pretty little flyers between the 1st and 3rd of may whilst the moon is still at bay and doesn’t have to contend with a large, super-bright moon.
Where are they located? In the constellation of Aquarius; southeast.
July 29-30: Delta Aquariids
These shiny little shooting stars are best viewed just before dawn. Whilst these are visible from the mid-northern latitudes you’d do better to see them from the southern hemisphere. In this shower, you’re expected to see up to 20 meteors per hours
Where are they located? In the constellation of Aquarius near the Delta Aquarii star.
July 30: Alpha Capriconids
If you look towards the northern hemisphere you will see these beautiful flyers. If you’re patient you will be able to spot activity from this meteor at a lower rate from the southern hemisphere. 4 streaks an hour are predicted to be visable to the naked eye.
Where are they located? In the constellation of Capricornus.
August 12-13: Perseids
Perseids are one of the brightest meteor showers of the whole year, peaking around the 12th and 13th of August. These little meteors are made from the debris of comet Swift-Tuttle and due to the direction of which the meteors come from, from the Perseus constellation, Perseids became their name. If you manage to find a good spot to view these little flyers, you can see up to 100 meteors in 1 hour under perfect conditions. The best time to see these is between midnight and 5:30am. Visible in both Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Where are they located? Perseus Constellation
October 8-9: Draconids
This meteor shower can also be known as the Giacobinids. This shower is considered to be one of the least interesting meteor showings by most astronomers.
Where are they located? Draco constellation
October 9-10: Taurids
When these little lights are due to peak, the moon will also be at 98% full so it might be hard to spot them. Just like all conditions to spotting meteors though you need to make sure you’re in a non-light polluted area to be able to see the best results.
Where are they located? In the constellation of Taurus
October 21-22: Orionids
Just like every other meteor shower, it’s great to spot shooting stars in a moonless sky as the moon acts as a natural light polluter. During this shower, you should see up to 10-20 meteors per hour under perfect conditions. These fast movers occasionally tend to leave persistent trails behind them.
Where are they located? Near the constellation of Orion.
November 17-18: Leonids
Leonids peak between the 16th and 19th of November. During this shower and under perfect conditions you should be able to see up to 15 meteor showers per hour. These little rockets come from the comet, Tempel-Tuttle which takes 33 years to make one orbit around the sun.
Where are they located? Near the constellation of Leo
December 13-14: Geminids
Geminids are caused by the object 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid that has a rock comet orbit. this means alongside the Quadrantids, they’re the only major meteor showers that do not originate from a comet.
Where are they located? In the constellation of Gemini near Castor.
December 21-22: Ursids
You’ll be able to view up to 10 meteors per hour during its peak. Meteors coming from the 8P/Tuttle comet.
Where are they located? From the direction of the Ursa Minor constellation.
Remember for the best chances of spotting a meteor shower you need to be without as much light pollution as possible, best viewing times are between midnight and just before dawn.