April 22, 2024

Major Meteor Showers in 2024


The Quadrantids are usually active between the end of December and the second week of January, and peak around January 3-4. Unlike other meteor showers that tend to stay at their peak for about two days, the peak period of the Quadrantids only lasts a few hours.

The shower owes its name to the now-defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis. The constellation was left off a list of constellations drawn out by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1922, but because the shower had already been named after Quadrans Muralis, its name was not changed. The Quadrantids is also sometimes called Bootids after the modern constellation, Boötes.

The Quadrantids are associated with asteroid 2003 EH1. The asteroid takes about 5.5 years to orbit around the Sun.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower is usually active between April 16 and 25 every year. It tends to peak around April 22 or 23.

Named after constellation Lyra, the Lyrids are one of the oldest recorded meteor showers—according to some historical Chinese texts, the shower was seen over 2,500 years ago. The fireballs in the meteor shower are created by debris from comet Thatcher, which takes about 415 years to orbit around the Sun. The comet is expected to be visible from Earth again in 2276.

Eta Aquariids
Also sometimes spelled as Eta Aquariid, the meteor shower is usually active between April 19 and May 28 every year.

The radiant, the point in the sky where the Eta Aquarids seem to emerge from, is in the direction of the constellation Aquarius. The shower is named after the brightest star of the constellation, Eta Aquarii.

The Eta Aquarids is one of two meteor showers created by debris from Comet Halley. The Earth passes through Halley's path around the Sun a second time in October. This creates the Orionid meteor shower, which peaks around October 20.

Comet Halley takes around 76 years to make a complete revolution around the Sun. The next time it will be visible from Earth is in 2061.

Alpha Capricornids
The Alpha Capricornids meteor shower takes place within the boundaries constellation of Capricornus. Alpha Capricornids occurs during Jul 03 - Aug 15 with the peak occurring on the 30th Jul. every year.

The source of the meteor shower is Comet 169P/NEAT. The Alpha Capricornids is a meteor shower whose radiant point moves across the sky. It is closest to its namesake star on or around about the 27th of July, before that the radiant point is is in nearby Sagittarius. The radiant point comes closest to Albali in nearby Aquarius.

The Alphas are best seen after dark so we are talking about after 11 p.m. in the night until about four o'clock the next morning when the Sun is about to rise. It will not be far off the Eastern horizon.

Delta Aquariids
The Delta Aquariid meteor shower’s parent comet comes from the 96P/Machholz Complex.

The 96P/Machholz Complex is a collection of eight meteor showers, including the Delta Aquariids, plus two comet groups (Marsden and Kracht), and at least one asteroid (2003 EH1). These meteors showers, and these comets, appear to share a common origin (although they’ve now diverged slightly in their orbits around the sun).

They are all related to the comet known as 96P/Machholz, which I discovered on May 12, 1986, from Loma Prieta Mountain in California.

Comet 96P/Machholz orbits the sun every 5.3 years and gets eight times closer to the sun than we are. This comet comes well inside the orbit of Mercury. Over the course of 4,000 years, the comet’s orbit changes in shape and tilt, so that it leaves particles throughout the inner solar system. It gets around!

A recent study suggests that the material causing the Delta Aquariid meteor shower left the comet’s nucleus about 20,000 years ago. It’s old dust streaking across our skies.

The Perseids are one of the brighter meteor showers of the year. They occur every year between July 17 and August 24 and tend to peak around August 9-13.

Made of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus. This is because the direction, or radiant, from which the shower seems to come in the sky lies in the same direction as Perseus. The Perseids are widely sought after by astronomers and stargazers because most years at its peak, one can see 60 to 100 meteors in an hour from a dark place.

The Draconid meteor shower, also sometimes known as the Giacobinids, is one of the two meteor showers to annually grace the skies in the month of October.

The Orionids is the second meteor shower in October. It usually peaks around October 21.

The Draconids owe their name to the constellation Draco the Dragon, and are created when the Earth passes through the dust debris left by comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. The comet takes about 6.6 years to make a single revolution around the Sun.

Although the Draconids have been responsible for some of the most spectacular meteor showers in recorded history, most recently in 2011, most astronomers and sky gazers consider it to be one of the less interesting meteor showers.

The Orionids are active every year in October, usually peaking around October 20/21. At its peak, up to 20 meteors are visible every hour.

They are the second meteor shower of the month—the Draconids usually peak around October 7 or 8.

The Orionid meteor shower is the second meteor shower created by Comet Halley. The Eta Aquarids in May is the other meteor shower created by debris left by Comet Halley.

Halley takes around 76 years to make a complete revolution around the Sun. It will next be visible from Earth in 2061.

Orionids are named after Orion, because the meteors seem to emerge or radiate from the same area in the sky as the constellation.

Southern Taurids
The Southern Taurids meteor shower takes place within the boundaries constellation of Taurus. Southern Taurids occurs during Sept 17-Nov 27 with the peak occurring on the 5th Nov. every year.

The source of this meteor shower is Comet 2P/Encke.

Although called the Southern Taurids, it doesn't mean that the meteor shower is for the Southern Hemisphere, it just means that it is more south of the two meteor showers. The related meteor shower is the Northern Taurids which occurs at the same time. Both meteor showers have different sources but are roughly located in the same location of night sky.

The meteor shower can be seen shortly after it gets dark in an easterly direction. It will be visible in the night sky until Sun light blocks it when it rises. The radiant point will move in a south and then west direction.

Here is the view from space.

The Leonid meteor shower is annually active in the month of November and it usually peaks around November 17 or 18. The shower is called Leonids because its radiant, or the point in the sky where the meteors seem to emerge from, lies in the constellation Leo. It is best observed after 10pm and lasts until dawn.

The Leonids occur when the Earth passes through the debris left by Comet Tempel-Tuttle. The comet takes around 33 years to make one orbit around the Sun.

The Geminids are considered to be one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year, with the possibility of sighting around 120 meteors per hour at its peak, which is on December 13 or 14, depending on your time zone.

The shower owes its name to the constellation Gemini because the meteors seem to emerge from this constellation in the sky.

Unlike most other meteor showers, the Geminids are not associated with a comet but with an asteroid: the 3200 Phaethon. The asteroid takes about 1.4 years to orbit the Sun.

The Ursids meteor shower is active annually between December 17 and December 24. The shower usually peaks around December 23. At its peak, observers may be able to view as many as 10 meteors in an hour.

The shower is named the Ursids because the meteors seem to radiate from the direction of the constellation Ursa Minor in the sky. The Ursids are associated with the 8P/Tuttle comet.