Sciencescience

Sun Jul 28, 2019, 04:47 PM

The Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower Peaks This WeekendHere's How to See It


BY MICHELE DEBCZAK JULY 26, 2019

We're officially in the middle of meteor shower season. The Perseids and Alpha Capricornids are currently active, and early this week, a fireball meteor was visible streaking across the night sky over New England. On Sunday, July 28, the light show will continue: That night, the Delta Aquariids will reach their peak, and an "old moon" will make it one of the best meteor showers of the summer, Travel + Leisure reports.

The Delta Aquariids become visible starting July 12 and last through August 23. They're the result of a trail of space dust that a comet called 96P/Machholz leaves behind as it circles the Sun. Every year, the Earth passes through this debris field, producing shooting stars as numerous as 20 per hour moving up to 25 miles per second at the shower's peak.

The Delta Aquariids are often overshadowed by the Perseids, a much more reliable meteor shower that's active around the same time of year. But this summer, the Delta Aquariids are the spectacle to catch. The peak of the Perseids coincides with a full moon, which means many meteors that would otherwise be visible will be washed out. The peak of the Delta Aquariids, on the other hand, falls on a late rising moon, or old moon. Sunday is just a few days away from the new moon on August 1, so skies will be especially dim that night, making for great viewing conditions for the meteor shower.

To increase your chances of spotting shooting stars, wait until around midnight, when skies are darkest, on late Sunday night/early Monday morning to look up. Meteors will come from the south, around the direction of the constellation Aquarius. As is the case with any celestial event, areas with low light pollution will offer the best views.

https://mentalfloss.com/article/591075/delta-aquariid-meteor-shower-peak-how-to-see-it

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