Two Meteor Showers Will Peak on the Same Night in the Same Region This Month

A picture of a meteor shower similar to the two that will be peaking in late July.

In this 30-second exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky during the annual Perseid meteor shower, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Spruce Knob, West Virginia. (Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA)

If you make a wish every time you spot a “shooting star,” July 30 will be a busy night for you. Two different meteor showers are scheduled to peak on that night. As a result, it will be possible to see a meteor every two minutes during the darkest hours. Especially if you live in southern latitudes, the Delta Aquariids and Alpha Capricornids will inspire even those with the shortest attention spans to keep their eyes on the sky.

The Delta Aquariids will be the source for most of the meteors. Up to 25 per hour will stud the sky in late July. The Alpha Capricornids will be less frequent. However, they'll be brighter and might even include some fireballs. “This shower is not very strong and rarely produces in excess of five shower members per hour,” writes the American Meteor Society. “What is notable about this shower is the number of bright fireballs produced during its activity period.”

The meteor showers' names are based on their radiant. This is the location in the sky where it appears they're originating to us on Earth. The Delta Aquariids will look like they are coming from the constellation Aquarius, specifically the bright star Delta Aquarii. Similarly, the Alpha Capricornids will appear to be originating from the star Alpha Capricorni. If you're into astrology, you'll know that Capricorn and Aquarius are next to each other. Hence, the overlap in peak dates being especially exciting since skywatchers won't be able to tell which meteors are which necessarily.

While they're named for stars, meteor showers are the result of debris from comets entering the Earth's atmosphere at high speeds and burning up. The Delta Aquariids originate from the 96P Machholz comet and the 169P/NEAT comet created the Alpha Capricornids. 

The Aquariid showers will be happening from July 18 through August 21. You can already catch a glimpse of the Capricornids which started on July 3 and will last until August 15. While it might be hard for those of us farther north in the Northern Hemisphere to catch a glimpse of the meteor showers, we'll have our turn with the Perseid meteor showers which peak in mid-August.

No matter which meteor shower you attempt to enjoy, make sure to leave city lights behind and allow half an hour for your eyes to adjust.

Two different meteor showers in the same part of the night sky will be peaking on July 30, 2024.

A photograph of the Eta Aquariids which have a radiant near the Delta Aquariids that will be peaking in late July.

The Eta Aquariids meteor shower, which peaked in early May, was captured in this stunning image by astrophotographer Petr Horálek. It was taken near San Pedro de Atacama, a Chilean town about 50 km away from the Chajnantor observatory site, where APEX and ALMA, astronomical facilities co-owned by ESO, are located. The Eta Aquariids meteors are caused by leftover debris from Halley’s comet and make up the bright, arrow-like darts of light in the photo. (Photo: P. Horalek/European Southern Observatory, CC BY-NC-SA)

h/t: [Good News Network]

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Elizabeth Beiser

Elizabeth Beiser is a Contributing Writer and Project Coordinator at My Modern Met. She has a background in American Cultural History with a special focus on Modern art and democratic community building. She received her B.A. in history, with a minor in Studio Arts, and her M.A. in history from the University of Rochester. She has worked on multiple political campaigns, as well as in non-profit operations and direct service. When she’s not writing, she’s experimenting with all varieties of arts and crafts. She also enjoys spending time with four-legged friends and exploring her hometown of Boston.
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