Double Meteor Showers to Dazzle July and August Skies

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(TMU) – While July started off with a penumbral eclipse of the Full Buck Moon, weather permitting, the skies will delight stargazers with overlapping meteor showers towards the end of the month when the Alpha Capricornids and the Delta Aquarids both peak from Tuesday evening, July 28 into Wednesday morning, July 29.

The moon will be 66% full at the time which could slightly dampen the brightness of the ‘shooting stars’, but there could be around 20 shooting stars per hour, increasing the odds of seeing quite a few.

The Alpha Capricornids, are active from July 3 through August 15, 2020. The radiant lies in a blank area between the constellations of Capricornus.

Although these showers are not particularly strong and rarely produce more than five showers per hour, they are known to produce bright fireballs during its active periods.

With good visibility from both sides of the equator, the alpha Capricornids peak will be during the night of July 28 and morning of July 29.

The delta Aquarids will be active from July 12 to August 23, 2020 and radiate from near the star Skat or Delta in the constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer.

The radiant is located lower in the southern sky and from the northern hemisphere resulting in fewer rates than seen from the southern hemisphere.

These meteors are usually faint without persistent trails and fireballs but do produce good rates for a week centered on the night of maximum. The delta Aquarids peak with the alpha Capricornids on the night of July 28 and the morning of July 29.

The Perseids, the most popular meteor shower, joins the party from July 17 to August 26, 2020, peaking  in the northern hemisphere and reaching a strong maximum on August 12 or 13 where the showers will vary from 50-75 per hour at their maximum.

The Perseids, from where the meteors seem to radiate, is named after the constellation of Perseus the hero, and are particles released from the comet 109P/Swift/Tuttle.

The Perseids will peak on the night of August 11 and the morning of August 12, 2020 with the moon 47% full.

To get the most out of watching meteor showers you definitely need a clear and dark sky, away from the glow of city lights, so gather some friends and head for the countryside if you are able to.

Take something warm to wear, a blanket to lie on. Between midnight and dawn is the best time. And make sure you look towards the east.

Make sure you turn off all lights, including mobile phones and allow your eyes to adjust to the dark. Allowing yourself a 20 to 30 minute adjustment time should do the trick. Don’t use binoculars or a telescope as they will limit your field of vision.