Astronomy Essentials

Meteor shower guide: Next up, summer meteors

Next up, summer meteors. Start watching in late July and early August for the Delta Aquariid shower to combine with the Perseid shower.

Late July to mid-August meteors … the Delta Aquariids

Predicted peak: July 29, 2022, at 10 UTC. But this shower doesn’t have a noticeable peak. It rambles along steadily from late July through early August, joining forces with the August Perseids.
When to watch: Watch late July through early August, mid-evening to dawn.
Duration of shower: July 18 to August 21.
Radiant: Rises in mid-evening, highest around 2 a.m. your local time and low in the sky by dawn. See chart below.
Nearest moon phase: In 2022, new moon falls at 17:55 UTC on July 28. And full moon will fall at 1:36 UTC on August 12. Take advantage of the moon-free mornings in late July and early August for watching the Delta Aquariids (and the Perseids).
Expected meteors at peak, under ideal conditions: The Delta Aquariids’ maximum hourly rate can reach 15 to 20 meteors in a dark sky with no moon. You’ll typically see plenty of Delta Aquariids mixed in with the Perseids, if you’re watching in early August, especially when there’s no moon to obscure the view.
Note: Like May’s Eta Aquariids, July’s Delta Aquariids favors the Southern Hemisphere. Skywatchers at high northern latitudes tend to discount it. But the shower can be excellent from latitudes like those in the southern U.S. Delta Aquariid meteors tend to be fainter than Perseid meteors. So a moon-free dark sky is essential. About 5% to 10% of the Delta Aquariid meteors leave persistent trains, glowing ionized gas trails that last a second or two after the meteor has passed.

Read more: All you need to know about Delta Aquariid meteors

Delta Aquariid meteors radiate from near the star Skat, aka Delta Aquarii, in the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer. This star is near bright Fomalhaut. In late July to early August, Fomalhaut is highest around 2 a.m. (on your clock no matter where you are). It’s southward from the Northern Hemisphere, closer to overhead from the Southern Hemisphere. Fomalhaut appears bright and solitary in the sky. To find it, draw a line roughly southward through the stars on the west side of the Great Square of Pegasus.

Early to mid-August meteors … the Perseids

Predicted peak: is predicted* for August 13, 2022, at 3 UTC.
When to watch: The moon will be up all night during 2022’s peak of the Perseid meteor shower. But this shower rises to a peak gradually, then falls off rapidly. And Perseid meteors tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into the wee hours. The shower is often best before dawn. So, in 2022, from early August to mid-August watch late evening to dawn, until the waxing moon – brighter each night, and up for more hours – drives you back inside.
Duration of shower: July 14 to September 1.
Radiant: The radiant rises in the middle of the night and is highest at dawn. See chart below.
Nearest moon phase: Full moon falls at 1:36 UTC on August 12. There will be a bright moon up during the Perseid’s peak in 2022. Take advantage of the moon-free mornings in late July and early August for watching the Perseids (and the Delta Aquariids).
Expected meteors at peak, under ideal conditions: Under a dark sky with no moon, skywatchers frequently report 90 meteors per hour, or more. But that’s doubtful in 2022, as the moon will drown all but the brightest meteors from view.
Note: The August Perseid meteor shower is rich and steady, from early August through the peak. The meteors are colorful. And they frequently leave persistent trains. All of these factors make the Perseid shower perhaps the most beloved meteor shower for the Northern Hemisphere.

Read more: All you need to know about Perseid meteors

Perseid meteors radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero. The radiant rises in late evening and is highest at dawn. Remember … you don’t have to find a shower’s radiant point to see meteors. The meteors will be flying in all parts of the sky.

Early October meteors … the Draconids

Predicted peak: is predicted* for October 9, 2022, at 1 UTC (evening of October 8 for the Americas).
When to watch: There’s no dark window for watching the Draconids in 2022. If you want to watch in moonlight, try the evening of October 8.
Overall duration of shower: October 8 through 9.
Radiant: Highest in the sky in the evening hours. See chart below.
Nearest moon phase: Full moon is 20:55 UTC on October 9. In 2022, the full or nearly full moon will drown most Draconid meteors from view.
Expected meteors at peak, under ideal conditions: Under a dark sky with no moon, you might catch 10 Draconid meteors per hour.
Note: The Draconid shower is a real oddity, in that the radiant point stands highest in the sky as darkness falls. That means that, unlike many meteor showers, more Draconids are likely to fly in the evening hours than in the morning hours after midnight. This shower is usually a sleeper, producing only a handful of languid meteors per hour in most years. But watch out if the Dragon awakes! In rare instances, fiery Draco has been known to spew forth many hundreds of meteors in a single hour. That possibility keeps many skywatchers outside – even in moonlight – during this shower.

Read more: All you need to know about Draconid meteors

The radiant point for the Draconid meteor shower almost coincides with the head of the constellation Draco the Dragon in the northern sky. That’s why you can view the Draconids best from the Northern Hemisphere. This chart faces northward at nightfall in October. The Big Dipper sits low in the northwest. From the southern U.S. and comparable latitudes, in October, obstructions on your northern horizon might hide the Big Dipper from view. From farther south – say, the Southern Hemisphere – you won’t see the Dipper at all in the evening at this time of year. But, if you can spot it low in the sky, use the Big Dipper to star-hop to the star Polaris. Polaris marks the end star in the handle of the Little Dipper. Got all these stars? Then you should also be able to spot Eltanin and Rastaban, the Draconids’ radiant point, high in the northwest sky at nightfall in early October. Draconid meteors radiate from near these stars, which are known as the Dragon’s Eyes.

Late October meteors … the Orionids

Predicted peak: is predicted* for October 21, 2022, at 18 UTC.
When to watch: Watch for Orionid meteors on both October 20 and 21, in the wee hours after midnight and before dawn.
Overall duration of shower: September 26 to November 22.
Radiant: The radiant rises before midnight and is highest in the sky around 2 a.m. See chart below.
Nearest moon phase: New moon falls at 10:49 UTC on October 25. So, at the Orionids’ peak, the moon will be in a waning crescent phase and rise in the early morning hours. It’ll be up there, but not too bright. You might even enjoy the waning crescent as you watch for the Orionids in 2022.
Expected meteors at peak, under ideal conditions: Under a dark sky with no moon, the Orionids exhibit a maximum of about 10 to 20 meteors per hour.
Note: These fast-moving meteors occasionally leave persistent trains. The Orionids sometimes produce bright fireballs.

Read more: Everything you need to know Orionid meteors

If you trace Orionid meteors backward on the sky’s dome, they seem to radiate from the upraised club of the famous constellation Orion the Hunter. This is the shower’s radiant point. The bright star near the radiant point is ruddy, somber Betelgeuse.

October into early November … the South and North Taurids

Predicted peak: The South Taurids’ predicted* peak is November 5, 2022, at 18 UTC. The North Taurids’ predicted* peak is November 12, 2022, at 18 UTC. But the South and North Taurids don’t have very definite peaks. They ramble along in October and November and are especially noticeable from late October into early November, when they overlap.
When to watch: Best around midnight, and probably best from late October into early November.
Overall duration of shower: The South Taurids run from about September 23 to November 12. North Taurids are active from about October 13 to December 2.
Radiant: Rises in early evening, highest in the sky around midnight. See chart below.
Nearest moon phase: In 2022, new moon falls on October 25. Full moon is November 8. So late October – when the two showers overlap and there’s no moon – might be excellent for the Taurids in 2022. But you’ll catch Taurid meteors throughout October and November. This custom sunrise-set calendar can show you moon rising times for your location. Be sure to check the moon rising time box.
Expected meteors at peak, under ideal conditions: Under dark skies with no moon, both the South and North Taurid meteor showers produce about 5 meteors per hour (10 total when they overlap). In 2022, watch for fireballs.
Note: Taurid meteors tend to be slow-moving but sometimes very bright. The showers sometimes produce fireballs, which might make their cyclical reappearance in 2022. The American Meteor Society pointed to “a seven-year periodicity” with Taurid fireballs. 2008 and 2015 both produced them. 2022 might as well. The last Taurid fireball display, in 2015, was really fun! Photos and video of Taurid fireballs here. Watch for them in 2022!

Read more: All you need to know Taurid meteors

The Taurid meteors consist of 2 streams, the South Taurid meteors and North Taurid meteors. Both streams appear to originate from the constellation Taurus the Bull. Typically, you see the maximum numbers at or around midnight, when Taurus is highest in the sky.

Mid-November meteors … the Leonids

Predicted peak: is predicted* for November 18, 2022, at 0 UTC.
When to watch: Watch on the night of November 17, late evening until moonrise.
Duration of shower: November 3 through December 2.
Radiant: Rises around midnight, highest in the sky at dawn.
Nearest moon phase: In 2022, last quarter moon falls on November 16. So there will be a narrow window of darkness as Leo begins to rise shortly before midnight, until the fat waning crescent moon rises.
Expected meteors at peak, under ideal conditions: Under a dark sky with no moon, you might see 10 to 15 Leonid meteors per hour.
Note: The famous Leonid meteor shower produced one of the greatest meteor storms in living memory. Rates were as high as thousands of meteors per minute during a 15-minute span on the morning of November 17, 1966. That night, Leonid meteors did, briefly, fall like rain. Some who witnessed it had a strong impression of Earth moving through space, fording the meteor stream. Leonid meteor storms sometimes recur in cycles of 33 to 34 years. But the Leonids around the turn of the century – while wonderful for many observers – did not match the shower of 1966. And, in most years, the Lion whimpers rather than roars.

Read more: All you need to know about Leonid meteors

Leonids stream from a single point in the sky – their radiant point – in the constellation Leo the Lion. Leo rises just before midnight in mid-November. Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the, dots a backwards question mark of stars known as the Sickle.

Early to mid-December meteors … the Geminids

Predicted peak: is predicted* for December 14, 2022, at 13 UTC.
When to watch: The moon will illuminate the sky from late evening on, on the evening of December 13. The moon will rise slightly later on December 14. The Geminids tend to be bright. One option is to try watching in moonlight on the nights of December 13 and 14.
Overall duration of shower: November 19 to December 24.
Radiant: Rises in mid-evening, highest around 2 a.m. See chart below.
Nearest moon phase: In 2022, last quarter moon falls on December 16. So it’s a bright waning gibbous moon that’ll illuminate the sky during the 2022 Geminid meteor peak.
Expected meteors at peak, under ideal conditions: Under a dark sky with no moon, you might catch 120 Geminid meteors per hour.
Note: The bold, white, bright Geminids give us one of the Northern Hemisphere’s best showers, in years when there’s no moon. They’re also visible, at lower rates, from the Southern Hemisphere. The meteors are plentiful, rivaling the August Perseids.

Read more: All you need to know about Geminid meteors

Geminid meteors radiate from near the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini the Twins, in the east on December evenings.

Meteors around the December solstice … the Ursids

Predicted peak: is predicted* for December 22, 2022, at 22 UTC.
When to watch: Watch for Ursid meteors December 22 and 23, before dawn.
Duration of shower: Ursids range from December 13 to 24, so you might see some intermingling with the Geminids’ peak.
Radiant: Circumpolar at northerly latitudes.
Nearest moon phase: A faint waning crescent moon at only 3% illumination won’t interfere with the Ursids in 2022. New moon is December 23 at 10:16 UTC.
Expected meteors at peak,under ideal conditions: Under a dark sky with no moon, the Ursids offer perhaps five to 10 meteors per hour.
Note: This low-key meteor shower – which always peaks around the solstice – is somewhat overlooked due to the holiday season. Its hourly rate is lower than that of the popular Geminid shower, which peaks just a week before.

Read more: Ursid meteors peak around December solstice

The Ursids are named for their radiant point in the constellation Ursa Minor, which contains the Little Dipper. And the Little Dipper contains the North Pole. So for the Northern Hemisphere, the radiant is above the horizon all night long.

Early January 2023 meteors … the Quadrantids

The Quadrantids are the year’s first meteor shower. They’re brief! And they’re mostly drowned in moonlight in 2023.

When to watch: The best night for the 2023 Quadrantids is January 3-4 (The predicted peak** is 3 UTC on January 4). A bright nearly full moon will shine almost all night. Try late night January 3 to dawn January 4, in moonlight. Or try the hour or so of true darkness, after moonset, shortly before dawn on January 4.
Nearest moon phase: Full moon will come on January 6, 2023.
Radiant: Rises in the north-northeast after midnight and is highest up before dawn. The radiant point for the Quadrantids is in a now-obsolete constellation, Quadrans Muralis the Mural Quadrant. Nowadays, we see the radiant near the famous Big Dipper asterism. Because the Quadrantid radiant is far to the north on the sky’s dome, this is mostly a far-northern shower, not as good for the Southern Hemisphere.
Expected meteors at peak, under ideal conditions: Under a dark sky with no moon, when the radiant is high in the sky, the Quadrantids can produce over 100 meteors per hour.
Duration of shower: The Quadrantid meteor shower runs from mid-November through mid-January each year, according to this 2017 article in the journal Icarus. You might see a Quadrantid streak by any time during that interval. But most activity is centered on the peak.
Note: The Quadrantids is one of four major meteor showers each year with a sharp peak (the other three are the Lyrids, Leonids, and Ursids).

Read more: All you need to know about Quadrantid meteors

The radiant point for the Quadrantid meteor shower is far to the north in the sky and so best seen from Earth’s Northern Hemisphere. From mid-northern latitudes, the radiant point for the Quadrantid meteor shower climbs over the horizon after midnight and is highest up before dawn.

April 2023 meteors … the Lyrids

The annual Lyrid meteor shower always brings an end to the meteor drought that occurs each year between January and mid-April.

When to watch in 2023: Late evening April 21 until dawn April 22 – or late evening April 22 until dawn April 23 – will be best. The predicted** peak is 1:06 UTC on April 23. And the peak of the Lyrids is narrow (no weeks-long stretches of meteor-watching, as with some showers). In 2023, new moon falls on April 19. Yay! No moon for 2023’s Lyrid meteor shower.
Radiant: Rises before midnight, highest in the sky at dawn.
Nearest moon phase: In 2023, new moon falls on April 19. There will be no moon in the sky during the peak mornings for 2023’s Lyrid meteor shower.
Duration of shower: April 15 to April 29.
Expected meteors at peak, under ideal conditions: In a dark sky with no moon, you might see 10 to 15 Lyrids per hour. The Lyrids are known for uncommon surges that can sometimes bring rates of up to 100 per hour! Read more about Lyrid outbursts below.
Note for Southern Hemisphere: This shower’s radiant point is far to the north on the sky’s dome. So the Southern Hemisphere will see fewer Lyrid meteors. Still, you might see some!

Read more: All you need to know about Lyrid meteors

Lyrid meteors radiate from near the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp. You don’t need to identify Vega or Lyra in order to watch the Lyrid meteor shower. But you do need to know when the radiant rises, in this case in the northeast before midnight. That’s why the Lyrids are typically best between midnight and dawn.

May 2023 meteors … the Eta Aquariids

Moonlight will obscure the 2023 Eta Aquariids.

When to watch: Full moon falls at the peak of the 2023 Eta Aquariid shower. If you want to try watching in moonlight, try the mornings of May 5, 6 and 7, 2023, in the hours before dawn. Why before dawn? See “Radiant” below. The American Meteor Society is listing 15 UTC on May 6 as the shower’s predicted* peak time. But times vary between different experts. And the peak of this shower stretches out over several days. So you can expect elevated numbers of meteors a few days before and after the peak time … albeit in moonlight.
Nearest moon phase: In 2023, full moon will fall at 17:36 UTC on May 5. Moonlight will obscure the 2023 Eta Aquariids.
Radiant: Rises in the wee hours, climbing toward its highest point at dawn. That’s why before dawn is the best time to watch this shower.
Duration of shower: April 15 to May 27.
Expected meteors at peak, under ideal conditions: In the southern half of the U.S., you might see 10 to 20 meteors per hour under a dark sky, with no moon, when the radiant is high in the sky. Farther south – at latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere – you might see two to three times that number.
Note: The Eta Aquariids’ radiant is on the ecliptic, which rides low in the sky on spring mornings as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. That’s why this shower favors the Southern Hemisphere. It’s often that hemisphere’s best meteor shower of the year … but not in 2023, when moonlight will drown out most meteors.

Read more: All you need to know about Eta Aquariid meteors

The radiant point of Eta Aquariid meteor shower is near the star Eta Aquarii in the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer. The radiant rises in the wee hours after midnight and is still climbing toward its highest point at dawn. That highest point is in the south as viewed from the Northern Hemisphere, closer to overhead for the Southern Hemisphere. That’s why the Southern Hemisphere sees more meteors (the radiant is higher up), and it’s why – for all of us around the globe – the hours before dawn are best for this shower.

June 2023 daytime meteor shower … the Arietids

Most meteor showers are easy to observe. Just find a dark sky, and look up! But what about meteor showers that happen in the daytime, when the sun is up? The Arietids are sometimes said to be the most active daytime meteor shower. In 2023, their predicted* peak will be the morning of June 7. You might catch some Arietids that morning in the dark hour before dawn.

When to watch: Watch from May 29 to June 17. There’s a predicted* peak on June 7, 2023. Watch for them in the sunrise direction in the dark hour before dawn breaks.
Nearest moon phase: In 2023, a waning gibbous moon will compete with a dark sky before dawn around the predicted peak on June 7.
Radiant: The shower’s radiant point – the point in the sky from which the meteors appear to radiate – is in the constellation Aries. You’ll find this constellation in the east before sunrise.
Duration of shower: May 29 to June 17.
Expected meteors at peak: This is tricky for daytime meteor showers because once the sun comes up, you won’t be able to see them. But the Arietids have a strong zenithal hourly rate (ZHR)! Meteor counts with radar and radio echoes have indicated a rate of 60 meteors per hour, and perhaps as high as 200 meteors per hour.
Note: The Arietids are sometimes said to be the most active daytime meteor shower.

Read more: Arietids – most active daytime meteor shower

The Arietids are an active shower, but they’re visible mostly in daytime. Watch for them in the sunrise direction in the dark hour before dawn from May 29 to June 17. You’ll be looking for meteors that shoot up from the horizon. The radiant is below the constellation Aries. Chart by John Jardine Goss.

Meteor-watching resources

Find a Dark Sky Place, from the International Dark Sky Association

Heavens-Above: Satellite predictions customized to your location

Stellarium Online: Star maps customized to your location

Dark Site Finder, from astrophotographer Kevin Palmer/

Blue Marble Navigator

EarthSky’s tips for meteor-watchers

Why do meteor showers have a radiant point?

RASC Observer’s Handbook, an indispensable tool for stargazers. The peak dates dates and times listed in this article are (mostly) from there

Meteor shower guide: photos from the EarthSky community

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Photographer Thomas Hollowell in Colorado caught these Lyrid meteors on the morning of April 22, 2020, and said: “The 6 meteors in this frame were stacked in Photoshop on a set of 3 background frames.” Thanks, Thomas!
Long meteor crossing the Milky Way caught during the peak of the May 2016 Eta Aquariid meteor shower. Image via Darla Young.
Delta Aquariid in 2014, from David S. Brown in southwest Wyoming.
The 2017 Perseid meteor shower peaked in moonlight, but that didn’t stop Hrvoje Crnjak in Šibenik, Croatia, from catching this bright Perseid on the morning of August 12, 2017. Notice the variations in brightness and color throughout, and the little “pop” of brightness toward the bottom. A brightness “pop” like that comes from a clump of vaporizing debris. Thank you, Hrvoje!
Draconids near Tucson, Arizona, in 2013, by our friend Sean Parker Photography.
Orionid meteor with aurora in 2013, by Tommy Eliassen Photography in Norway.
In 2015, the Taurids put on a spectacular display of fireballs that lasted many days. 2022 might be the next oportunity for such a fireball display. Photographer Jeff Dai captured this one over Yamdrok Lake in Tibet.
James Younger sent in this photo during the 2015 peak of the Leonid meteor shower. It’s a meteor over the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest.
Cynthia Haithcock in Troy, North Carolina, caught this Geminid in 2015. Looks like a bright one!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | William Mathe captured this image on December 20, 2019, in Lindon, Colorado. He wrote: “My wife and I made a 100-mile jaunt out into the eastern plains to try to capture one or more meteors from the Ursid meteor shower. We took this image facing due north. As you can see, just to the right of the little white church is Ursa Major pointing up to Polaris, and just to the left is a green ‘fireball’ meteor that lit up the sky for a second or two.” Thank you, William!
Quadrantid radiant composite via Scott MacNeill of Frosty Drew Observatory in Charleston, Rhode Island.

Meteor shower words of wisdom

A wise person once said that meteor showers are like fishing. You go, you enjoy nature … and sometimes you catch something.

Bottom line: Look here for information about all the major meteor showers in 2022 and early 2023. There are some good ones! Next up … the Delta Aquariids and the Perseids in late July and August.

*Predicted peak times and dates for 2022 meteor showers are from the American Meteor Society Note that predictions for meteor shower peak times may vary. Back to top

**Peak times for 2023 meteor showers provided by Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society. Note that predictions for meteor shower peak times may vary. Back to top

Posted 
July 1, 2022
 in 
Astronomy Essentials

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