Meteor showers are one of the most popular skywatching events that take place every year. A meteor shower is actually a celestial event, in which meteors, often called as shooting stars, are observed to radiate from one point in the night sky. This shower gives a spectacular sight which can be seen even with naked eyes. People love witnessing these falling stars. Specialists can announce the meteor showers in advance, so that, everyone can enjoy the sky show without missing a single meteor shower. Like every year, there are several occasions also take place in this year, in which, you will be able to witness the falling stars. Be prepared for the upcoming major meteor showers given below:
1, The Lyrids
The Lyrid meteor shower of 2012 is on the way. The Lyrids will occur between 20-23rd of April. Probably, the shower will rain down the most meteors from the late night of 21st April until the sunrise on 22nd April; however, it can offer a sprinkling of meteors on any clear and dark night of the week. The Lyrids start off at the late evening but the number of meteors tends to increase after midnight and will be the greatest in the dark hours before dawn. The Lyrid meteors tend to be very bright and often leave trails. It is expected that there will be around 10-20 meteors per hour at its peak. This year there is a great possibility of uncommon surges where the rate of meteors can rise up to 100 per hour. Luckily, in this year, the new moon assures a dark sky in the late night and early morning hours which will give a clear view of the shower.
2, The Eta Aquarids
The Eta Aquarids meteor shower is expected to pour the greatest number of meteors in the wee hours before dawn, on May 5 or 6. Unfortunately, the meteor shower is coinciding with the largest and closest full moon of the year, leaving no dark sky for Eta Aquarid show. Hence, stargazers have to wait till early morning for getting the glimpse of the shower. These meteors are very bright and often fast, striking the Earth’s atmosphere at about 41 miles per second. The brightness of full moon is sure to overtake the Eta Aquarid meteors but let’s hope to get a glimpse of them in the early morning after the moon sets.
3, The Perseids
Witness the Perseids shower in the early morning hours of August 12 or 13. The moon light will not be bright enough to ruin the show. These meteors are also very fast and bright. They can appear from any part of the sky. The Perseids are considered to be one of the best showers as it often peaks at fifty or more meteors per hour. They tend to increase the number of meteors as and when late night deepens into midnight as well as they generate the most meteors during the wee hours before dawn. Very often the Perseids meteors leave persistent trains. The meteors travelling at a speed of about 71 km/s and displays a brilliant show.
4, The Orionids
You can watch the Orionid meteor shower at its best, between 20th October’s midnight and 21st October’s dawn. Unlike other showers, this one has an irregular peak which makes the number of meteors unpredictable. However, in a dark and moonless night, the Orionids peaks 16-30 meteors per hour. The meteors travel very fast and frequently leave persistent trains and bright fireballs which make the shower more interesting. To capture the best shot, watch the Orionid meteor shower in the wee hours before dawn on 21st October.
5, The Leonids
In 2012, the Leonids meteor shower will begin in the late night hours of 16th of November; however, it will reach its peak just after midnight on 17th of November and it will continue till early morning hours. At its peak, it includes maximum of 10-15 meteors per hour. Like all other meteor showers, the Leonids will display the greatest number of meteors just before dawn. A waxing crescent moon will allow the stargazers to get a clear view of the Leonids meteor shower.
6, The Geminids
The last but not the least is the great Geminids meteor shower. The Geminids will be displayed from late night on 13th December until dawn on 14th December. Most likely, the Geminids will give the best shot from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on 14th of December. It is one of the popular showers, produces around 50 meteors per hour. Above all, the peak night of Geminid shower will have new moon which guarantees a dark sky for better viewing. Unlike other meteor showers, it will begin by 9 or 10 p.m. local time. The peak time will be around 2 a.m.
Tips to get the best view of a Meteor Shower:
- Find out the perfect location i.e. dark and cloudless sky.
- Find out the peak time when the meteor showers will be the strongest.
- Use your naked eyes instead of a telescope or binoculars to witness the shower. As eyes can quickly catch on any movement up above, you will be able to spot more meteors.
- Don’t lose patience and watch for at least half an hour.
- Bring a ground pad or a reclining chair to make it more comfortable to look up in the dark night sky continuously.
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