Milwaukee Astronomical Society

 

Yearly Meteor Showers


Dates

Maximum Date(s)

Shower Name

 Jan 1-5  Jan 3-4  Quadrantids
 Jan 15 - Feb 8  Jan 27-28  Alpha Aurigids
 Apr 19-24  Apr 22  April Lyrids
 May 1-12  May 5  Eta Aquarids
 Jun 10-21  Jun 15  June Lyrids
 Jul 15 - Aug 15  Jul 28  Delta Aquarids
 Aug 1-18  Aug 12  Perseids
 Oct 17-26  Oct 20  Orionids
 Nov 14-20  Nov 17  Leonids
 Dec 4-16  Dec 13-14  Geminids

 

How to observe a meteor shower

  • Shower is a terrible misnomer: Never expect a "shower." The peak of most of the best showers is maybe 50 per hour with 100 per hour the best. So with maybe 1-2 meteors per minute it's so more of a drizzle.

    For the general public you should ignore most of the so-called showers. The two we recommend, however, are the Perseids which peak on August 12th and the Geminids which peak on December 13th and 14th.
     
  • Instrumentation: The great news about a meteor shower is that it requires nothing more than just your eyes. Meteors appear so suddenly and move so fast that even seeing them in binoculars is out of the question. You simply need to just look up into the sky with just your eyes. Consequently, we suggest lying on your back on a comfortable lounge chair.
     
  • Location: What you need is a relatively dark location (i.e., try to get as far out of the city as practical) because the darker the skies, the more meteors you'll see. Also, a site with relatively good horizons helps because the meteors can appear in any part of the sky.
     
  • When to observe: The table gives the dates when you are more likely to see meteors and the best nights are those marked as the peak. But during those dates, the best time is generally after midnight.
     
  • Avoid the Moon:  Along the lines of a dark sky, the presence of the moon will always be a hindrance. So pick a time when the moon is not out. Unfortunately, if the meteor shower occurs near the full moon, there's nothing you can do but wait for another shower.
     
  • Dress Warm: The best advice we can offer is to dress warm. Nothing can spoil the fun like getting cold.  Unfortunately, the Geminids which is usually the best meteor shower of the year occurs in the middle of December so few people really go out for that one.

For more information, we suggest reading EarthSky's Top-10 Tips For Meteor Watchers.

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