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Major Meteor Showers December 17, 2010

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro.
Tags: , ,

I’ve had several questions about meteor showers lately. Most of the questions had to do with timing, like when they happen, when to observe them, when is the next one, etc. To find answers, I went looking for a quick table of best meteor showers.  Something like the table in the Astronomical Calendar, but with only the newsworthy showers.

I didn’t find one.

I found tables of all the meteor showers, I found lists, I found pages that discussed each major shower, but no quick easy table. It was very frustraiting. So I did what I always do when I run into a problem like this.

I made my own.

So here it is, the very brief table of major meteor showers.

Major Meteor Showers
Peak Date Shower Name Approx. Radiant
Mid April Lyrids 5:30 AM
Early May Eta Aquarids 8 AM
End of July – Early Aug Delta Aquarids 2:30 AM
Mid August Perseids 6 AM
Late Oct Orionids 5 AM
Mid Nov Leonids 7 AM
Mid Dec Geminids 3 AM

In general, the best time to observe a meteor shower is between midnight and when the radiant transits. The debris streams are different for each shower, so they each have some variation in when the best time really is. The actual peak also varies slightly from year to year. Your best bet for actually observing a shower is to check a calendar, almanac or website specific to the year.



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