list of meteor showers: 2019

Perseid meteor shower

We are in the middle of the year 2019. In the first half of the year, a handful of meteor showers have occurred. And don’t worry if you missed some cause the real show starts in the second half of 2019.

So here is a list of the meteor showers that are about to present their show this year.

meteor showersdatesorigin
Delta AquaridJuly 28, 29comet 96P/Machholz
PerseidAug 12, 13comet 109/Swift-Tuttle.
DraconidOct 8Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner
TauridNov 5, 6Comet Encke
LeonidNov 17, 18Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
GeminidsDec 13, 14Asteroid 3200 Phaethon
UrsidsDec 21, 22Comet 8P/Tuttle

A closer look

Firstly, before preparing for the night show, you should understand that in order to view any of these meteor showers, you do not require any special equipment.

These meteor showers can be best enjoyed by naked eyes and of course some friends.

Using telescopes or binoculars may enhance the proximity, but doing so will largely affect your wide field of vision and also while focusing on one meteor will make you miss the other.

Delta Aquarid

July 28, 29

This year the Delta Aquariids show is said to begin in mid-July and will continue until late August.

This meteor shower will be a bit difficult to spot. Moreover, the giant illuminant, our moon, will make it more difficult to spot them. But don’t worry if you missed a few, the shower is going to last until dawn.

Where to look?

Southern Hemisphere, Southern latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

Viewing tips

Find a place away from all the city lights and road lights. In other words, look for a place that is not polluted by light.

Switch off your phones so that social media is not disturbing the show.

Come prepared for the cold climate. Lying flat on the ground will give you an extended field of view. Also, it’s important to be in an area that is open and not covered with many trees.

Just keep your focus between the horizon and the zenith.

Initially, you’ll have some trouble in keeping your focus on the tiny dots. But don’t worry, your eyes will immediately adapt to the condition.

Lastly, be patient.

Origin

Meteor showers occur when the earth’s orbit coincides with the orbit of a comet. In the case of the Delta Aquariids, the comet is 96P/Machholz.

comet 96P/Machholz
comet 96P/Machholz

This comet was discovered in 1986 by Donald Machholz. It orbits around the sun once every 5 years. The nucleus of this comet is 6.4 km (4 miles).

Perseid

August 12, 13.

Perseid meteor shower
ESO/S. Guisard, The 2010 Perseids over the VLTCC BY 4.0

It is considered one of the best meteor showers of the year.

This will present a pretty huge shower of about 50-100 meteors per hour at its peak which is in mid-August (12th – 13th)

Have you heard of fireballs? These are large explosions of light and color that persist longer and for sure look cooler than an average meteor streak.

And you know what, the Perseids are known for their fireballs. So the night show is guaranteed to lit.

The moon, however, will be there to spoil the night. But don’t worry, you will definitely see some.

Where to look?

It will be visible to the Northern Hemisphere.

Preparations

Find a place away from all the city lights and road lights. In other words, look for a place that is not polluted by light.

Switch off your phones so that social media is not disturbing the show.

And most importantly, be there before dawn.

Origin

Earth comes in the orbital path of comet 109/Swift-Tuttle. The orbital period of this comet is quite large, it is 133 years.

The nucleus of the comet is 26 km (16 miles). The comet’s orbit spreads far beyond the inner solar system, so it spends a part of its journey inside the inner solar system. The last time it passed from the inner solar system was in 1992.

It was Giovanni Schiaparelli who first realized that the reason for the Perseid Meteor shower. However, the credit for the discovery of the comet goes to Lewisand Horace Tuttle. Discovered in the year 1862.

Draconid

October 8

Draconid meteor shower
Petnica Meteor Group, Draconids outburst 2012-10-08CC BY-SA 3.0

Also known as the Giacomini, this meteor shower rarely produces any more than 5 meteors per hour.

But do not underestimate the dragon.

It is a very rare occasion when the earth coincides with the perihelion of the comet. This happened in the year 1933 and 1946. When this happens, the Draconid produces over a thousand meteors per hour.

And here is a piece of good news, the next such event is said to happen in the year 2025.

Where to look?

In this case, you are free to look anywhere. You don’t have to focus on any one section in the sky. This is because the meteors will be seen flying from anywhere in the sky.

A good chance to compete with your friends to see who can spot the most number of meteors!

Preparations

The best thing about this meteor shower is that you don’t have to stay up late to see the shooting stars.

But as always you have to make sure that you are in the right place, away from areas that have light pollution.

Origin

Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. The orbit of this comet is very elliptical. If you wonder how elliptical, let me tell you that the aphelion of the comet lies beyond the planet Jupiter and the perihelion of the comet lies at about earth distance.

It orbits around the sun once every 6.6 years.

Taurid

November 5, 6

taurids meteor shower
Channone ArifTaurid Meteor Shower – Joshua Tree, California – 6 Nov. 2015CC BY 2.0

If you see one, you’ll go delirious for sure. These are going to be fireballs cutting through the earth’s atmosphere.

This is one meteor shower you don’t want to miss. They are for sure going to display an eye-popping show.

There is one downside to this. The rate at which they will appear is very poor. But don’t you worry about that because it is predicted that this year it’s going to an outburst.

Where?

The timing of this shower will vary. In the southern hemisphere, the meteor shower will be at the peak in the night of October 9th-10th and in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s going to be on November 11th-12th.

And according to NASA, the shower will be visible to both the Hemispheres in late November.

Preparations

Now since the show is going to last for several weeks, it is difficult to determine the perfect day. But I can tell you that you must be at your viewpoint before dawn.

Again, chose a place away from the streets and city lights. Lie flat on the ground so as to allow as much sky as possible.

This meteor shower is going to be visible practically anywhere on the earth except for the South Pole. The meteors will appear to originate from the constellation Taurus the bull.

Origin

Comet Encke. It is said that the meteors that this comet produces are so huge that they can survive through the earth’s atmosphere.

Leonid

November 17, 18

Leonid meteor shower
NavicoreLeonid MeteorCC BY 3.0

This is considered as one of the major meteor showers of the year.

Why? The meteor shower produces very bright trails of light. Some are also colorful.

It is also tagged for being one of the fastest, with meteors traveling at the speeds of 71 km (44 miles) per sec.

The rate, however, is not that great with over 15 meteors per hour.

Fun fact: once every 33 years, the meteor shower reaches its peak when hundreds and thousands of meteors light up the sky. For example – in 1966, people witnessed the Leonid storm. For a period of 15 minutes, thousands of meteors fell per minute. The rate was so high that it appeared like rain.

Leonid meteor shower 1833
Leonid meteor shower 1833

The last time it happened was in 2002.

Where?

It will be visible in the eastern skies.

Just find a dark location and lie flat on the ground so as to take in a panoramic view. Come prepared for the cold climate.

Origin

Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.

The comet was discovered twice independently. First in 1865 by Ernst Tempel and then in 1866 by Horace Tuttle.

It has a 33 year orbital period around the sun. The nucleus of the comet is 3.6 km (2.24 miles) across.

Geminid

Dec 13, 14.

Geminids
Asim PatelGeminidsCC BY-SA 3.0

It is believed that Geminids present one of the best meteor showers of the year.

It peaks in mid-Dec and has very bright looking and fast moving meteors.

The shower can produce about 120 meteors per hour at its peak.

The Geminids were first seen in the 1800s. But back then it wasn’t so charming at all. It had a very low rate of about 10-20 meteors per hour.

Where?

The Geminids will be visible all across the globe. The show is said to begin at around 9-10 pm and it is going to last till dawn.

Come prepared for the cold climate, and also chose a dark location to view the Geminids.

Origin

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Yes, it’s an asteroid this time.

It was discovered on October 11th, 1983, by the Infrared Astronomy Satellite.

All the meteor showers that we have seen till now are caused when the earth comes in the orbital path of a comet. But the Geminids, originate from an asteroid.

This asteroid is considered to be a dead comet or some new kind of object (rock comet).

Ursid

December 21, 22.

This meteor shower produces a handful of meteors per hour (5-10).

You will definitely require a very dark sky in order to view the meteors. Moreover, a spotlight in the sky, the moon, is going to disturb the show quite a lot.

It is very rare when this meteor shower outbursts producing over 50 meteors per hour. This happened in the year 1945 and 1986.

Sadly, this year we are not expecting an outburst.

Where?

Just keep your eyes on the constellation – Ursa Minor (the little dipper). The meteors will appear to originate from there.

Origin

Comet 8P/Tuttle. It has an orbital period of 14 years.

Discovered in the year 1790 and rediscovered by Horace Tuttle in the year 1858.

sahil asolkar

Sahil Asolkar

writer and co-founder

Sahil Asolkar is a writer, poet, and shows a good interest in astronomy. His work can be seen in the articles he writes for Astronomiac.

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