Two meteor showers come out of the constellation Aquarius (the Water Bearer), nearest the dim star Delta Aquarii, this time of year: the southern and northern Delta Aquarids. The peak for the southern Delta Aquarids, which are starting Monday and Tuesday, is very gradual, so anytime this week should provide good viewing. The Southern Hemisphere gets the best of the southern Delta Aquarids, but the Northern Hemisphere, especially in tropical latitudes, should do pretty well also. The best time for northern observers to view will be the hour before dawn. During the peak of the southern Delta Aquarids, you can typically expect to see 10-20 meteors per hour from a dark location; in southern latitudes, maybe twice that number, because the shower will appear higher in the sky. The northern part of the Delta Aquarid shower, a smaller spectacle, will peak in around two weeks, along with the famed Perseid shower. A few Perseids may be firing already tonight from the northeast, so you might get in on a double feature and spot meteors from both swarms. NASA spotted a few Perseid fireballs on Sunday. Basic tips for watchers:
- Get comfortable — a nice reclining chair, coffee, warm clothes and/or blankets, etc.
- The farther away from city lights that you can get, the better.
- You’ll need to give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark in order to see the meteors easily and in high numbers.
- No bright mobile devices, or keep the screens way dimmed.
If you have poor weather, watch the meteors video-stream from the Slooh Observatory online starting at 10pm EDT (0200 GMT). NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama will be streaming them on Tuesday.