Meteor Showers for 2011-2012: Ones to watch

Originally posted on Dark Sky Diaries by Steve Owens (@darkskyman on Twitter)

With the Quadrantids meteor shower that has just past yielding around 100 meteors per hour in near-perfect New Moon conditions, which showers of the next two years will give us as good a display?

Meteor Shower

There are a few regular, dependable showers that can be relied on to put on a good show year after year, given a good Moon phases, so let’s concentrate on those:

Lyrids 2011
The Lyrids peak this year on April 21/22, only three days after the Full Moon, making conditions far from ideal. The ZHR is around 20, but under bright Moon conditions this will be much reduced, so that from the UK you might only see a few Lyrids per hour.

Persieds 2011
The Perseids peak on 12/13 August 2011 coincides exactly with a Full Moon, making this shower pretty much a write-off in 2011.

Orionids 2011
The Orionids peak occurs on 21/22 October 2011 just after the last quarter Moon, with the Moon rising a little after midnight, just as the meteor shower radiant is gaining height. Again, far from ideal.

Leonids 2011
The Leonids peak on 17/18 November occurs during a last quarter Moon, which unfortunately is smack bang in the direction of Leo, and so will obscure many of the Leonids in 2011

Geminids 2011
The Geminids peak on 13/14 December 2011 will likewise be completely obscured by an almost-full Moon in Gemini.

Quadrantids 2012
The Quadrantids peak on 3/4 January 2012 will feature a waxing gibbous Moon which won’t set until 0400.

Lyrids 2012
The Lyrids peak on 21/22 April 2012 is the first major shower peak in 15 months where the Moon is absent, meaning that you should get good views of this shower which has a ZHR of only around 20.

Persieds 2012
The Perseids peak of 12/13 August 2012 will feature a thin waning crescent moon that’s visible in the sky from midnight, obscuring some of the Perseids.

Orionids 2012
The Orionids peak on 21/22 October 2012 is pretty much Moon-free from around 2330, as the Moon sets.

Leonids 2012
The Leonids peak on 17/18 November 2012 will also be Moon free from early evening, and so presents an opportunity to see a few Leonids.

Geminids 2012
Rounding off this two year run of poor Moon conditions for meteor showers, we end with the Geminids on 13/14 December, coinciding wonderfully with a New Moon on 13 December, meaning conditions will be near perfect.

21 Responses to “Meteor Showers for 2011-2012: Ones to watch”

  • Devon says:

    What day/time will be best for viewing in the UK for the Perseids in 2012?

  • laura says:

    will the perseids be visable from nottingham in the uk ?

  • Chelsie says:

    Hi, Will the Persieds be visible from London? Otherwise do you know any that will? I have never witnessed a meteor shower before

  • Joseph says:

    Hi guys!Saturday / Sunday looks like a glorius opportunity to go Lyrid watching.The only problem is..I’m Scottish!Much as I hold my clan and my country close to my soul,unfortunately it’s usually bathed in cloud,so blessed we are also with plenty of rain.
    So,any tips on long range forecasts for my homeland?..
    We are also blessed with beautiful mountains and lots of (relative) openspace from which to stare skyward in hope…

  • Alan says:

    Just rekindled my interest in astronomy after watching Stargazing Live on TV last night.

    Got my binoculars out and was amazed at how clear the sky was !! Saw some lovely views of the Orion Nebula in the sword of Orion and the cluster in the Taurus constellation. Jupiter was also very bright !!

    Some years ago as a newly qualified pilot, my first job was based in Bahrain in the Middle East, and on the night of 19th November 2001 I was flying to Dubai and saw hundreds of shooting stars during what turned out to be the Leonids meteor shower, I believe.You could look in any direction and see several within quick succession !! We saw hundreds within the space of just under an hour !! Absolutely amazing, and unusual night…even made a note of it in my log book…..

  • conor says:

    a metio just fell in a fieald i live by

  • Anna says:

    Will we be able to see meteor showers from Guam?

  • i have just witnessed the brightest and most colorful shooting star. I was gazing out of my window towards the river Thames from my balcony at Heritage Quay Gravesend DA12 2BF. It was 4.04pm and the sky was a daily bright pink. Just below the three quarter moon appeared the flash lasting about half a second. It was colored blue with a yellow tip rather like a well adjusted Bunsen burner.

    I have previously witnessed meteorite showers in a very dark sky and without a moon. That this giant flash could show up against the pink sky and bright moon is extraordinary.

    Brian Hammond. CBiol, MSB, PGCE, FIScT

  • Hailee says:

    Will I be able to see the 2012 Quadrantid shower from Georgia? And how long will it last?

  • Brianna says:

    When is the next one going to be? Im in florida.
    Please write back, asap !

    • Brianna says:

      Aw man! I really wanted to see one. :/

      • Amber says:

        Around 11:30pm. last night the 20th, I saw 2 meteors fly through the sky near the constellation of Orion. It was pretty cool one was blue, and the other white. if you look up in the sky, you may see a few. the next shower is 13 days away on the 3rd and 4th of January.

  • Carrie says:

    I’m still confused. When and will you be able to see a meteor shower in Maimi, Florida? Please reply.

  • Shannon says:

    I have a question for the Perseids for 2012 will I be able to see it in Maine? and will it only be that late Midnight or will I see some activity before then? I am having an outdoor wedding next year and all my  fiance and I do is look at the stars at night. Thank you for you help 🙂
    Future Mrs. franks

  • Barry says:

    Thanks for this. Probably won't be able to see many for this year (!) but you sometimes get lucky 🙂
    Thanks again,

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