The first, the Delta Aquariids meteor shower, is predicted to peak around 6 a.m. ET (10 a.m. UTC) Friday, according to EarthSky. Its radiance — the point from which meteor trails appear to emanate — rises in the middle of the evening, is highest around 02:00 local time and is low in the sky at dawn.
As Earth orbits the Sun, it encounters the skewed path of a comet, whose icy surface leaves behind dust and rocks as they boil from the Sun’s heat. When these space rocks fall toward our atmosphere, “the resistance—or drag—of the air on the rock makes it extremely hot,” according to NASA. “What we see is a ‘shooting star.’ The bright streak is not actually rock, but rather the glowing hot air as the hot rock slides through the atmosphere.
Suspected to originate from comet 96P Machholz, the southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower occurs anytime between July 12 and August 23 annually. It can best be seen by people in the Southern Hemisphere and southern latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, according to NASA. However, a moonless dark sky is essential, EarthSky stressed. Fittingly, the moon will only be 1% full below peak.
The meteors, which tend to number 10 to 20 an hour and fly at 25 miles per second, are most visible between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. in all time zones when the faint constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer — the shower of rays point — is highest in the sky , according to EarthSky. About 5% to 10% of Delta Aquariid meteors leave persistent trains, which are glowing, ionized trails of gas that linger for a second or two after the meteor passes.
If you go outside for about 30 minutes before showering, your eyes can adjust to the dark, according to NASA. For those in the southern hemisphere, the radiant is closer overhead; people in the northern hemisphere should look towards the southern part of the sky. You do not need to use a telescope. For optimal viewing, find an area away from artificial lighting and lie flat on your back, observing as much of the sky as possible, NASA suggested.
How to see the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower
Following the Delta Aquariids peak will be the peak of the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower, which occurs Saturday and Sunday while the moon is only 5% full, according to the American Meteor Society.
This shower is not very strong and rarely emits more than five meteors per hour, according to the society. However, Alpha Capricorn tends to produce bright fireballs at its apex and can be seen equally well by people on either side of the equator.
Other room arrangements this year
There are several meteor showers you can catch during the rest of 2022, according to EarthSky’s 2022 meteor shower guide:
- August 13: Perseids
- October 9: Draconids
- October 21: Orionids
- November 5: South Taurids
- November 12: North Taurids
- November 18: Leonids
- December 14: Geminids
- December 22: Ursids
You’ll also be able to see five more full moons in 2022, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac:
- August 11: Sturgeon Moon
- September 10: Autumn Moon
- October 9: Hunter’s Moon
- November 8: Beaver Moon
- December 7: Cold Moon
And there will be another total lunar eclipse and a partial solar eclipse in 2022, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The partial solar eclipse on October 25 will be visible to people in Greenland, Iceland, Europe, northeastern Africa, the Middle East, western Asia, India and western China.
The November 8 total lunar eclipse can be seen in Asia, Australia, the Pacific, South America, and North America between 3:01 a.m. ET and 8:58 a.m. ET. But for people in eastern North America, the moon will set during that time.
Use the right eclipse glasses to safely view solar eclipses, as the sun’s light can damage the eye.