Meteor Shower Calendar 2023: Shooting Stars Tonight

~7 min
Meteor Showers 2023

In 2023, there are a few promising meteor showers that can put on a spectacular show: among them the Lyrids, Perseids, Orionids, and Geminids. Our guide has everything you need to know about these and other upcoming showers — including the dates of activity, best time to view, radiant location, and number of shooting stars per hour. We also provide tips on observing meteors in the sky and answer the most popular questions about shooting stars. To learn more about meteor showers, check out our infographic.

Check this infographic to learn interesting facts about meteor showers. Get tips on how to observe and photograph "shooting stars".
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Contents

Meteor Showers 2023#

In the list below, we’ve included notable meteor showers that will occur in 2023. All of them have a zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) of at least 10 meteors per hour. We’ve added a star emoji to particularly promising showers with favorable observation conditions.

Quadrantids: January 4#

  • Meteors/hour: 110
  • Moon illumination: 95%
  • Active: Dec 28 - Jan 12
  • Radiant location: Bootes
  • Parent body: Asteroid 2003 EH1
  • Visible from: Northern Hemisphere

The first meteor shower of the year — the mighty Quadrantids — could have been a marvelous sight to see. Under suitable conditions, this meteor stream can provide dozens of shooting stars per hour. Unfortunately, in 2023, the Quadrantids’ peak coincides with the nearly Full Moon, whose bright light will wash out most of the meteors.

Lyrids: April 23 🌟#

  • Meteors/hour: 18
  • Moon illumination: 9%
  • Active: Apr 14-30
  • Radiant location: Lyra
  • Parent body: Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher
  • Visible from: everywhere

According to the International Meteor Organization, the Lyrids are a medium-strength meteor shower that can occasionally produce bright fireballs. The Moon won’t interfere with your observations as it will be a thin crescent during the shower’s peak.

It’s better to watch the Lyrids from the Northern Hemisphere, where their radiant climbs high in the sky. You can spot the meteors from the Southern Hemisphere as well, but their rate will be lower. The Lyrids are best observed between midnight and dawn.

Eta Aquariids: May 6#

  • Meteors/hour: 50
  • Moon illumination: 100%
  • Active: Apr 19 - May 28
  • Radiant location: Aquarius
  • Parent body: Halley’s Comet
  • Visible from: everywhere

On a clear dark night, the Eta Aquariids can produce up to 50 meteors per hour if you watch them from the southern latitudes. North of the equator, you can see 10-30 shooting stars per hour. However, this year, you won’t be able to enjoy the Eta Aquariids: the glow of the Full Moon in the sky will spoil the show.

Southern Delta Aquariids: July 30#

  • Meteors/hour: 25
  • Moon illumination: 89%
  • Active: Jul 12 - Aug 23
  • Radiant location: Aquarius
  • Parent body: Comet 96P/Machholz
  • Visible from: everywhere

The Southern Delta Aquariids are another prolific meteor shower that is best observed from the Southern Hemisphere. Its meteors are quite faint and hard to spot under imperfect observation conditions. Unfortunately, in 2023, the conditions will be far from perfect: the nearly Full Moon will obscure the view of most shooting stars.

Here’s a small consolation for you: according to NASA, you’ll have one more chance to spot the Delta Aquariids meteors during the Perseids peak in August. If you see a meteor coming from the southern part of the sky (where the constellation Aquarius lies), be sure it’s a Delta Aquariid meteor. The Perseid radiant is located in the northern part of the sky.

Perseids: August 13 🌟#

  • Meteors/hour: 100
  • Moon illumination: 10%
  • Active: Jul 17 - Aug 24
  • Radiant location: Perseus
  • Parent body: Comet Swift–Tuttle
  • Visible from: Northern Hemisphere

The Perseids are rightfully considered the best meteor shower of the year north of the equator: they peak during warm August nights and produce lots of swift and bright meteors. In 2023, the Moon will be in the waning crescent phase during the shower’s peak and won’t pose a problem. This means if the weather is good, you’ll be able to see up to 100 meteors per hour! The Perseids are best viewed from midnight to sunrise when their radiant is high in the sky.

Draconids: October 9 🌟#

  • Meteors/hour: 10
  • Moon illumination: 25%
  • Active: Oct 6-10
  • Radiant location: Draco
  • Parent body: Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner
  • Visible from: Northern Hemisphere

The Draconids aren’t among the most prolific meteor showers, but they’re still worth seeing. Especially this year, because the waning crescent Moon will not interfere with your observations. Unlike many other meteor streams, the Draconids peak early in the evening, so start looking for them as soon as it’s dark enough to see the stars.

Orionids: October 22 🌟#

  • Meteors/hour: 20
  • Moon illumination: 49%
  • Active: Oct 2 - Nov 7
  • Radiant location: Orion
  • Parent body: Halley's Comet
  • Visible from: everywhere

The Orionids are a medium-strength meteor shower capable of showing occasional bursts of activity. For instance, according to the American Meteor Society, in 2006-2009, the Orionids’ peak rates nearly rivaled those of the Perseids, reaching 50-75 meteors per hour. You should definitely give the Orionids a chance this year — although the Moon will be half-illuminated at the shower's peak, it will set soon after midnight and pose no interference later in the night. The Orionids are best viewed from midnight till dawn.

Leonids: November 18 🌟#

  • Meteors/hour: 10
  • Moon illumination: 25%
  • Active: Nov 6-30
  • Radiant location: Leo
  • Parent body: Comet Tempel-Tuttle
  • Visible from: everywhere

The Leonids are most famous for producing spectacular meteor storms: for instance, in 1966, observers in the United States reported seeing 40 to 50 meteors per second! There are no such forecasts for 2023, so under dark skies, you might be able to see up to 10 meteors per hour. The waxing crescent Moon will present minimal interference during the shower’s peak. The Leonids’ radiant rises shortly before midnight and reaches its highest point at dawn.

Geminids: December 14 🌟#

  • Meteors/hour: 150
  • Moon illumination: 2%
  • Active: Dec 4-20
  • Radiant location: Gemini
  • Parent body: Asteroid 3200 Phaethon
  • Visible from: everywhere

The Geminids are one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year. Their meteors are bright, plentiful, intensely colored, and slower moving. In 2023, the observation conditions are particularly favorable: the shower will peak soon after the New Moon, so the Moon’s glow won’t obscure the view. You should start looking for the Geminid meteors at about 22:00 local time, as the radiant will be well placed in the sky by that time.

Ursids: December 23#

  • Meteors/hour: 10
  • Moon illumination: 84%
  • Active: Dec 17-26
  • Radiant location: Ursa Minor
  • Parent body: Comet 8P/Tuttle
  • Visible from: Northern Hemisphere

The Ursids are a minor meteor shower that always peaks around the December solstice and produces 5-10 shooting stars per hour. This shower is often neglected because the mighty Geminids occur just a week before it. Unfortunately, this year, there’s all the more reason to ignore the Ursids: the Moon will be only three days away from its full phase at the shower's peak and will wash out most of the meteors.

This was our list of the most noteworthy meteor showers of 2023. If you want to know about all of the year’s meteor showers and their peak dates, consult the Calendar in Sky Tonight: tap the calendar icon at the bottom of the screen and open the Meteors tab.

How to see a meteor shower?#

Here are a few basic tips that will help you enhance your meteor-watching experience. If you’d like to test your meteor-hunting knowledge and skills, take our quiz on how to catch a shooting star!

Take this quiz to see how well you're prepared for meteor hunting and get useful tips on how to catch the most shooting stars.
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  • Check the weather forecast. Clear skies are necessary to see the maximum number of meteors — clouds, rain, and snow can easily ruin your observations. You can check the weather forecast for any nearest date in the Visible Tonight section of our stargazing app Sky Tonight.

  • Dress warmly. You may get pretty cold while waiting for meteors to appear. So take some extra clothes with you even if it’s summer outside. A hot drink will also help you stay warm.

  • Bring a blanket or deck chair. Meteor-hunting involves a lot of looking up, so instead of standing, it’s better to lie on a blanket or sit on a reclining chair. Your neck will be grateful to you!

  • Look towards the zenith. Meteors seem to originate from the meteor shower’s radiant, but in practice, they can appear anywhere in the sky. So the more of the sky you see, the better your chance is to spot a shooting star. The best practice here is to lie flat on your back and look straight up.

  • Use a red-colored flashlight. Unlike ordinary flashlights, a red-colored one will preserve your night vision. To make a red-colored flashlight, you can simply wrap a piece of red cellophane around your standard flashlight.

  • Avoid looking at your phone. Your smartphone’s bright screen is bad for night vision, so you should avoid using it. If you need to consult a stargazing app, turn the Night Mode on — it will be a little easier on your eyes.

You can get more tips on observing and photographing meteor showers from our dedicated article.

F.A.Q.#

What is a meteor?#

A meteor, or “shooting star”, is a bright streak of light in the sky. It is created when tiny particles of cometary or asteroidal dust (called meteoroids) burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. If you want to learn more about the differences between meteors, meteoroids, and meteorites, check out our quiz.

Can you tell the difference between a falling star and a meteorite? And what about comets and asteroids? Check your astronomy knowledge with our quiz!
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How fast do meteors travel?#

According to the American Meteor Society, grains of space dust (soon-to-be meteors) enter the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds ranging from 11 km/sec (25,000 mph) to 72 km/sec (160,000 mph). The Leonids are considered to produce some of the fastest meteors of all.

What color are shooting stars?#

Meteors can take different colors depending on the meteoroid’s chemical composition and the interaction of its atoms with the molecules in the atmosphere. Here are the main meteor colors (with the corresponding chemical elements in brackets):

  • Orange-yellow (sodium)
  • Yellow (iron)
  • Blue-green (magnesium)
  • Violet (calcium)
  • Red (atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen)

What is a meteor storm?#

A meteor storm is a meteor shower that produces more than 1,000 meteors per hour. They occur when the Earth passes through a very dense part of a comet’s debris trail. The most spectacular meteor storm in recent history was the Leonids outburst in 1966.

Bottom line: In 2023, several meteor showers are worthy of your attention — including the Lyrids, Perseids, Orionids, and Geminids. This article provides all the necessary information on how to observe them.

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