Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower peaks at the end of July

Viewers could see up to 10 meteors per hour coming from Aquarius on July 30, when a crescent Moon slightly hinders the view. // Astronomy: Roen Kelly

During July and August, the Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower will produce up to 15 meteors per hour.

By Sarah Scoles — Published: July 22, 2013

The Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower will produce streaks of light visible to those in the Southern Hemisphere and tropical northern latitudes. This shower is active July 12–August 23 and peaks July 30 when up to 15 meteors per hour are visible.

Unfortunately, during the Delta Aquarids’ peak, the Moon — a barely waning crescent — rises around midnight and will wash out some of the dimmer “shooting stars.”

“If you can stay up late or get up early, try watching just before dawn for the best views,” said Astronomy magazine Senior Editor Richard Talcott. “In early August, just after the peak, you may catch an early streak or two from the Perseid meteor shower, and the Moon won’t be as bright.”

Meteors appear because motes of fast-moving dust collide with Earth’s atmosphere. The friction between these tiny particles and the atmosphere’s molecules cause the dust to vaporize and leave a trail of light in the sky. Meteor showers occur when Earth’s orbit brings it through a comet’s stream of debris — discarded dust and ice left that trace the comet’s orbit.

To read the full article and view a video of how to observe the meteor showers clock here.