Summer Meteor Showers In Virginia: Peak Dates, How To Watch

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VIRGINIA — There’s nothing like sitting exterior on a heat summer time night time and watching fireballs streak throughout the sky. Over the following few weeks, you might even see meteors anytime you lookup within the night. That’s due to the cosmic exhibits of the summer time meteor showers: the Delta Aquarids and the fantastic Perseids.

The Delta Aquarids run July 12-Aug. 23 and peak July 27-28.

Think of the Delta Aquarids because the costume rehearsal for the extra dependable Perseids. That usually prolific meteor bathe runs July 17-Aug. 24, peaking in a single day on Aug. 12-13.

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The Delta Aquarid meteor bathe, produced by particles left behind by the comets Marsden and Kracht, is a mean present, producing about 20 meteors an hour at its peak.

There’s a little bit of dangerous information — an almost full moon on the peak, on July 27, will blot out the dimmest of the taking pictures stars — however there’s some excellent news, too: Meteors from the slow-moving bathe will nonetheless be flying when the Perseid meteor bathe begins, so it’s best to be capable of see meteors flying from reverse instructions.

RELATED: Supermoons, Lunar Eclipse, Meteor Showers In Virginia In 2018

The Perseids, that are usually wealthy in fireballs that create lengthy, dramatic streaks within the sky, promise to be definitely worth the wait this 12 months.

At the bathe’s peak, a skinny sliver shall be all that’s seen of a crescent moon, and meteors ought to fly at a fee of 60 to 100 an hour.

In “outburst” years, reminiscent of 2016, the depth can attain 200 meteors an hour.

NASA meteor skilled Bill Cooke would not anticipate an outburst this 12 months, however mentioned the Perseids will nonetheless be the best meteor shower of 2018.

“This year the moon will be near new moon, it will be a crescent, which means it will set before the Perseid show gets underway after midnight,” Cooke advised Space.com. “The moon is very favorable for the Perseids this year, and that’ll make the Perseids probably the best shower of 2018 for people who want to go out and view it.”

The traditionally brilliant Perseids are produced by the comet Swift-Tuttle, found in 1862. The meteors fall between the constellations Perseus and Cassiopeia, however simply lookup and it’s best to be capable of see them wherever within the sky.

When To Watch

With each meteor showers, the most effective viewing occasions are after midnight towards the pre-dawn hours, however you may be capable of see just a few as quickly because it’s darkish.

  • Delta Aquarids
    • Peak: Friday, July 27, to Saturday, July 28
    • Shower: Thursday, July 12, to Thursday, Aug. 23
  • Perseids
    • Peak: Sunday, Aug. 12, to Monday, Aug. 13
    • Shower: Tuesday, July 17, to Friday, Aug. 24

Dark skies away from gentle air pollution provide the most effective viewing circumstances, however there are some good locations to see meteors in big cities, too, appreciated exterior D.C. in Greenbelt Park.

In Virginia, the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club recommends watching at Big Meadows commentary space in Shenandoah National Park and C. M. Crockett Park in Midland.

Here are tips for meteor watching from NASA:

  • Take alongside one thing snug to sit down or lie down on, reminiscent of a reclining chair or a yoga mat so you possibly can see many of the sky.
  • Be affected person. Under excellent circumstances, it’s best to be capable of see one meteor inside half an hour or so.
  • Leave the binoculars and telescopes at residence. They’ll rob you of the most effective views. Meteors are beautiful with out them, and utilizing binoculars or telescopes will restrict the quantity of sky you are capable of see and enhance the probabilities you may see nothing however darkish skies.
  • Avoid your cellphone or the rest that produces gentle. If it’s good to see one thing, use a crimson gentle. Some flashlights have interchangeable filters; if yours would not, you possibly can all the time paint the clear filter with crimson fingernail polish.

— By Patch editor Beth Dalbey

Photo: NASA / Bill Ingalls

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