It’s an interstellar treat! The Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of Thursday, July 28 to the predawn hours of Friday, July 29. NASA said that there will be approximately 20 meteors visible each hour with a meteor velocity of 41 km (25 miles ) per second. Their radiant appears from the constellation Aquarius, moving southeast. The third brightest star within this constellation is called Delta. The shower gets its name from this star and the constellation.
Meteors come from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids. When comets orbit the Sun, the dust they emit gradually spreads into a dusty trail around their orbits. Every year the Earth passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky. The Delta Aquariid isn’t the only shower in the sky this month. The Perseid meteor shower, which NASA calls the “greatest meteor shower of the year,” began on July 17 but will not peak until August 13.
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What are Southern Delta Aquariids?
According to NASA, the space debris that interacts with our atmosphere to form the Southern Delta Aquariids is believed to be from comet 96P/Machholz. This comet circles the Sun approximately once every five years. Donald Machholz found Comet Machholz in 1986. The nucleus of Comet Machholz is around 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) wide (a little more than half the size of the object hypothesized to have led to the demise of the dinosaurs).
When can you see Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower?
The Southern Delta Aquariids are active beginning in mid-July and are visible until late August. These faint meteors are difficult to see if the Moon is visible. If the Moon is not visible, the best time to see the Southern Delta Aquariids is during the shower’s peak which is around the end of July.
According to Earth Sky, July’s Delta Aquariids, like May’s Eta Aquariids, prefer the Southern Hemisphere. Skywatchers in the far north tend to dismiss it. However, the shower can be spectacular from latitudes like those in the southern United States. Delta Aquariid meteors are less bright than Perseid meteors. As a result, a moonless, black sky is required. About 5% to 10% of Delta Aquariid meteors leave persistent trains, which are bright ionized gas trails that remain for a second or two after the meteor has passed. In 2022, the new moon falls at 17:55 UTC on Thursday, July 28. And the full moon will fall at 1:36 UTC on August 12. One should take advantage of the moon-free mornings in late July and early August for watching the Delta Aquariids
Where can you see the Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower?
According to NASA, the Southern Delta Aquariids are best seen in the Southern Hemisphere and the Northern Hemisphere’s southern latitudes. Skywatches must locate a site away from the city or street lights to catch a better look. Observing the Southern Delta Aquariids will be easier if one looks halfway between the horizon and the zenith, and 45 degrees from the constellation of Aquarius.
The Candian Space Agency took to Instagram and updated twitter users on where to watch the Delta treat. “This year, the Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower peaks on the night of July 28 through the predawn hours of July 29. Around 20 meteors will be visible per hour! Aim for the constellation Aquarius, heading southeast and if possible, head away from city lights. Enjoy the show!”
This year, the Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower peaks on the night of July 28 through the predawn hours of July 29. Around 20 meteors will be visible per hour! Aim for the constellation Aquarius, heading southeast and if possible, head away from city lights. Enjoy the show! pic.twitter.com/XpQu25gFwv
— Canadian Space Agency (@csa_asc) July 27, 2022