Perseid meteor shower August 2020: When can I see it?

Katie Ramirez
July 29, 2020

Here are some things you need to know.

On the night of Tuesday, July 28, into the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 29, shooting stars will glisten in the night sky from not one, but two meteor showers: The southern Delta Aquarids and the Alpha Capricornids. What we call a shooting star is actually the glowing hot air that surrounds a space rocks as it heats up in our atmosphere.

You'll have to stay up a bit later for these streaks of light as the Alpha Caprocornids will peak from around sunset until 4:30 on Thursday morning.

Astronomers believe Delta Aquarid meteors may come from Comet 96P Machholz, which follows a 5-year orbit around the Sun.

The Observatory said: "A moderate meteor shower peaking in late July, the Delta Aquariids kick off the summer meteor season in the Northern Hemisphere". The atmosphere acts like the windshield of a vehicle driving through a snowstorm, and meteors can be seen to streak across the sky.

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Delta Aquarids appear to originate from a point in front of the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer, close to the star Delta Aquarii, in the southern night sky.

The Alpha Capricornids meteor streams originate from dust particlles ejected by Comet 45P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, also known as Comet 169P/NEAT.

Meteor showers light up the night when Earth crosses paths with a debris field left behind a comet or asteroid.

Clouds are likely to be an issue for much of the Plains and the East Coast, but some pockets could have enough breaks in the clouds to catch part of the show. The location of the radiant depends on the combined motion of the Earth and the meteoroids. The report states that places in the equatorial region and in the Southern Hemisphere get the best view of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower since its radiant is higher above the horizon. To watch the full moon rise, look towards the southeast during sunset. This year both Jupiter and Saturn are located quite close to the alpha capricorned radiant and mars trails behind the southern delta aquarium radiant. While the AMS notes that the shower isn't particularly strong (about five meteors an hour), the meteors it does produce are particularly bright and visible.

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