Want to see something amazing? The Delta Aquarids are going to be blasting through the night sky this week, which will be unusually dark thanks to a waning crescent moon.
The Delta Aquarids are here, and they’re putting on quite the show. And if you want to catch a glimpse, this week will be the best time as the intense show reaches its peak. If you miss the shower altogether, the larger Perseid meteor shower starts in just a couple of weeks — but try not to miss this one, because it will be quite the sight.
The Delta Aquarids — and most meteor showers — are a result of comets flying too close to the sun, causing them to melt and leave behind small pieces of rock and debris. Annual meteor showers happen when the planet repeatedly passed through the same comet debris field, causing chunks of rock to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere and resulting in a light show.
The Delta Aquarids were first discovered in 1870 and scientists are still trying to determine the comet responsible for the show. The shower began on July 12 and will peak in the pre-dawn hours of this upcoming Thursday and Friday nights.
Unfortunately if you live in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere will have the best view, but you’ll still be able to see them as long as you’re far enough away from cities with bright lights.
And it will be quite the show. Viewers will be able to watch 20 meteors per hour streak through the sky, which pales in comparison to the Perseids at 50 per hour, but it’s still quite the sight. The fact that a waning crescent moon will keep the skies dark will also help.
If you can’t see them from where you live, you can watch the show via the Slooh Community Observatory in the Canary Islands, which will livestream the event.
“This year the Delta Aquarids are expected to peak on the night of July 28th and the morning of July 29th,” NASA said in the statement. “This particular meteor shower has a long slow buildup and decline, with meteors from its stream beginning to shower on July 12 and running through to August 23-mixing in with the Perseids in August! This year the Delta Aquarids will come during a thin crescent moon, so viewing will be excellent (provided your skies are cooperative). Find a nice area with dark skies and dress warmly and look up for this respectable sky show. You may see up to 20 meteors an hour; you can use the free Meteor Counter app to record your meteor count and participate in NASA’s LADEE mission!”