Four Meteor Showers Visible Together This Summer
As a closure for July’s astronomical events and a new beginning for August 2020, there will be four breathtaking meteor showers that will last for several weeks straight. Where is a meteor shower going on right now? Keep reading and you’ll find it out along with how they occur and what meteor shower is going on tonight. Yes, including the Perseids!
How does a meteor shower occur?
Meteor showers are caused by meteoroid streams entering Earth’s atmosphere at extremely high speed on parallel trajectories. First of all, a meteor shower occurs every year at the same time when the Earth crosses the meteoroids’ orbit. Second, to observers below, shower members appear to come from the same point in the sky (called the radiant point), which happens due to the effect of perspective. A meteor shower gets its name after the constellation where its radiant point is located.
The Piscis Austrinids
The Piscis Austrinids is a faint meteor shower located within the constellation of Piscis Austrinus. This meteor shower occurs between July 15 and August 10, but the peak of activity happens on July 28. The parent body is undiscovered, according to some studies, it might have disintegrated. This meteor shower radiates from an area to the west of the brightest star Fomalhaut in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus, the so-called “Southern Fish”. The amount of meteors we should expect here is up to 10 per hour.
When is the best time to observe this astronomical event? The Piscis Austrinids is likely to produce its best in the hours around 2:00 a.m. GMT (10:00 p.m. EDT) when its radiant point rises the highest above the eastern horizon. The shower is expected to reach peak activity on July 28, 2020, according to the International Meteor Organization (IMO).
The Southern Delta Aquariids and the Alpha Capricornids
The Delta Aquariids are active from about July 12 to August 23 each year and can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. The origin is unknown, but the potential one is the comet 96P Machholz. Although the Delta Aquariids will be best visible from the Southern Hemisphere, stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere will also be able to catch a glimpse of the event.
The Alpha Capricornids are active from July 3 to August 15. The parent comet is the comet 169P/NEAT. This meteor shower is not particularly strong as well and usually produces 5 meteors per hour on average, but its main feature is the ability to produce bright fireballs during the peak activity. Unlike the Delta Aquariids, this one will be equally visible in both hemispheres.
July 29 – 30 will be the period of maximum activity for these two meteor showers. Their radiants are placed close enough — in the Aquarius and Capricorn constellations, respectively. It leads us to a spectacular night sky view — on one night we will be able to see up to 30 meteors per hour, which is more than the Lyrid meteor shower has.
July also brings us one of the most eye-catching sky events of the year — the Perseid meteor shower. The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. It’s active from July 17 till August 24 and its radiant is placed in the constellation Perseus the Hero. At the peak, the range of shower members is 50-75 per hour at maximum. The IMO expects the peak on August 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. GMT (from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT).
Use Star Walk 2 to determine streams’ radiants and find out the point where meteor showers are coming from. Meteors will be visible in the wide-area all around the skies. Remember to stay away from the city lights for the best stargazing experience.
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