Sometimes refered to as ‘shooting stars‘ or ‘falling stars’. Meteors are small fragments of interplanetary debris and dust that enter the Earths atmosphere. Due to the high speeds at which they enter the atmosphere they usually burn up, although a small percentage fall to Earth as meteorites.
It’s thought that millions of meteors are visible during a 24 hour period across the whole Earth.
Annual meteor Showers
The Quadrantids meteor shower is active from 1 to 6 January and this year peaked on 3 January. The radiant of the shower is a few degrees northwest of Tau, Phi and Nu Herculis. This is what used to be the constellation of Quadrans Muralis, hence the name Quadrantids.
The Lyrid meteor shower peaked on 22/23 April. The parent of this storm is Thatcher’s Comet, named after an American astronomer named AE Thatcher. The Lyrids can be seen any time between 16 and 26 April. The Chinese recorded seeing the Lyrid shower in 687BC making them the oldest recorded meteor shower.
The Eta Aquarids are active from 24 April until 20 may with the peak expected on 5 May. The shower is considered to be produced by debris from Halley’s Comet.
The southern Delta Aquarids are active from 15 July to 20 August and is expected to peak on 28 July.
The Alpha Capricornids are active from 3 July to 15 August and is expected to peak on 30 July.
The Perseid meteor shower is active from 17 July until 24 August and is expected to peak on 12 August. The parent comet for this shower is Swift-Tuttle.
The Draconids meteor shower (also known as the Giacobinids) is expected to peak on 10 October. The parent comet is P/Giacobini-Zinner and activity is generally only seen if the comet is close.
The Orionid meteor shower is active between 2 October and 7 November. It’s expected to peak on 21 October and is associated with Halley’s Comet.
The Taurid meteor shower is expected to peak on 5 November but can be seen from 20 October until the end of November and is associated with Encke’s comet.
The Leonid meteor shower is active between 10 to 23 November. It’s expected to peak on 17 November. The parent comet is 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.
The Alpha Monocerotids meteor shower expected to peak on 21 November .
The Geminids meteor shower is one of the most active meteor showers. It can be seen between 7 to 15 December and is expected to peak on 13/14 December. The shower is produced by debris from the asteroid Phaethon.
The Ursid meteor shower is expected to peak on 22 December. The parent comet is 8P/Tuttle.