The Southern delta-Aquarids Meteor Shower occurs at a good time to try and spot some meteors (or “shooting stars”). There’s no moonlight at the time of the meteor shower’s peak which makes it easier to see more meteors.
The Southern delta-Aquarids Meteor Shower is active from mid July to mid August each year. The peak of activity happens in the early morning on 29th July, however nights either side are also opportune times to try and see meteors.
The meteors from this shower are usually faint, so the best place for viewing will be in country WA. Hopefully there could be up to 15 to 20 meteors per hour.
When to look: From 2am, 29th July. By this time the Moon will have set in the west which means the night sky will be darker for spotting the meteors.
Which direction to look: North east. The meteors will appear above red-coloured Mars which is also in the north east.
How Does a Meteor Shower Occur?
A meteor shower occurs when Earth passes through the trail of debris left by a comet after it has completed its journey around our Sun. As comets pass by the Sun, extreme temperatures heat up some of the nucleus causing a trail of debris.
The debris can be as small as a grain of sand and can be travelling at 10-70kms per second. When this debris hits the Earth’s atmosphere it burns up causing a bright streak of light to appear in our night sky. When Earth passes through the trail of debris left by a comet, there are lots of pieces that can enter Earth’s atmosphere causing a greater number of meteors (or “shooting stars”). Hence the name meteor shower.
Meteor showers are named after the constellation where the shooting stars appear to be coming from. In the case of the Southern delta-Aquarid Meteor Shower, the meteors appear to come from the direction of the constellation of Aquarius.
If you happen to see a very bright meteor (often referred to as a “fireball”), a meteorite may have landed on Earth and WA’s Fireballs in the Sky Network would love to know! You can download the app and become a Citizen Scientist by reporting sightings. You might even like to follow the International Meteor Organization! Perhaps you’ll see a fireball like the one seen over Mexico City!