Tonight’s meteor shower: When is the ideal time to observe the sparkling Delta Aquariids?
THE DELTA AQUARIIDS meteor shower has arrived, illuminating the night sky with scores of shooting stars. When is the ideal time to view tonight’s annual meteor shower?
Every year around mid-July, when our planet crosses the orbit of Comet 96P Machholz, Delta Aquarrids appear in the night sky. Individual parts of the “dirty snowball” smash into our atmosphere at breakneck speeds and burn up before reaching the ground when this happens. From roughly mid-July through the end of August, the meteor shower is usually active.
However, astronomers are particularly enthusiastic about one night in particular: the pinnacle of the shower.
The maximum concentration of hourly meteors will be observed during the peak of the Delta Aquariids.
Up to 20 meteors per hour will be visible during this year’s peak, according to Dhara Patel, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, according to the expert, the Alpha Capricornids will also peak at the same time.
The meteor shower will be at its peak this year during the night of July 28 into the morning of July 29.
On the nights after the peak, you might glimpse one or two shooting stars if you’re lucky.
“The Delta Aquariids meteor shower peaks this week on the evening of July 28 and into the early morning of July 29, despite the fact that it has been active since mid-July and will continue until August 24,” Ms Patel added.
The shower will be best visible after 11 p.m. BST, according to the astronomer.
The radiant point of the shower – the point from which it appears to enter the skies – will appear above the horizon at this time.
The radiant will show in the southeast before moving higher into the sky in the constellation Aquarius.
“Up to 20 meteors per hour may be observed emerging from the shower’s source (near Jupiter) in the constellation of Aquarius,” Ms Patel said.
“Try to go away from more populated places; you’ll need a clear view of the horizon, and less light pollution means better viewing conditions.”
The skies will darken as the radiant rises higher and higher tonight.
The presence of clean, dark skies is essential for every meteor hunting session.
Unfortunately, tonight’s efforts will not be successful. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”