VIRGINIA – There's nothing like sitting outside on a warm summer night and watching fireballs cross the sky. In the next few weeks, you can always see meteors when you look up in the evening. This is thanks to the cosmic shows of the summer meteor shower: the Delta Aquarids and the glorious Perseids.
The Delta Aquarids run July 12-Aug. 23 and peak July 27 – 28
Think of the Delta Aquarides as a dress rehearsal for the more reliable Perseids. This typically productive meteor shower runs from July 17 to August 8. (19659002) (Get the daily patch newsletter and real time alerts.) Get the free Patch iPhone app or free Android app patch.)
The Delta Aquarid meteor shower, produced by debris produced by the Comets Marsden and Kracht were left behind, is an average show that at its peak produces about 20 meteors per hour.
There is some bad news ̵
CONNECTED : Supermoons, Lunar Eclipse, Meteor Shower in Virginia 2018
The Perseids, who are usually rich in fireballs that create long, dramatic streaks in the sky, promise to be worth the wait this year.
At the head of the shower, a thin splinter will be all that is visible from a crescent moon, and meteors should fly at a speed of 60 to 100 per hour.
In "breakout" years, like 2016, the intensity can reach 200 meteors per hour.
NASA meteorologist Bill Cooke is not expecting an outbreak this year, but said the Perseids will still be the best meteor shower of 2018.
"This year, the moon will be new moon, it will be a crescent, which means it will be set before the perseid show starts after midnight," Cooke told Space.com. "The moon is very favorable for the Perseids this year, and this will probably make the Perseids the best shower of the year 2018 for people who want to go out and see it."
The historically bright Perseids are produced by the comet Swift -Tutle, discovered in 1862. The meteors fall between the constellations Perseus and Cassiopeia, but simply look up and you should see them everywhere in the sky.
When to Wake
With both meteor showers the best viewing times are after midnight to the hours before dawn, but you may be able to see some once it's dark.
- Delta Aquarids
- Top: Friday, July 27, through Saturday, July 28
- Shower: Thursday, July 12, through Thursday, August 23
- Top: Sunday, August 12, through Monday, August 13
- Shower: Tuesday, July 17, through Friday, August 24
Dark skies away from light pollution provide the best viewing conditions, but there are some good places to meteors in
In Virginia, the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club recommends watching in the Big Meadows Observation Area at Shenandoah National Park and CM Crockett Park in Midland.
Here are tips for meteor observing from NASA:
- Take something comfortable to sit on or lie down with, such as a lounger or a yoga mat so you can see most of the sky.
- Have some patience. In ideal conditions, you should be able to see a meteor within half an hour.
- Leave the binoculars and the telescopes at home. They will rob you of the best prospects. Meteors are breathtaking without them, and the use of binoculars or telescopes will limit the sky you can see and increase the chances that you will see nothing but dark skies.
- Avoid looking at your cell phone or anything else that produces light. If you need to see something, use a red light. Some flashlights have replaceable filters; If this is not the case, you can always paint the clear filter with red fingernail varnish.
– By Patch Editor Beth Dalbey
Photo: NASA / Bill Ingalls