If you were one of those who started stargazing or backyard astronomy after the pandemic, then you've likely noticed that not much has been happening in the night sky lately. All the usual suspects-the stars, planets, and the moon-are content to just linger in space. It's been quite a while since there was a meteor shower.
However, meteors have been shooting through the summer sky. The Perseid meteor shower began earlier in the month. But it does not peak until August 1113. On the night of July 28, which is tomorrow, two meteor showers will peak simultaneously, the Southern Delta Aquariids (and the Alpha Capracornids). This is how, where and when you can look up to catch the show.
How to see the Southern Delta Aquariids as well as the Alpha Capracornids meteor Showers
According to the American Meteor Society, the Alpha Capracornids and Southern Delta Aquariids have different strengths. The Southern Delta Aquariids produce more meteors in their shower. However, they are usually weaker and lack both persistent trains or fireballs. Alpha Capracornids produce fewer than five meteors per hour, but they do produce bright fireballs.
The moon will be 74% complete on the night of July 28. This isn't ideal for viewing meteor showers but it doesn't make it impossible. The Southern Delta Aquariids are best seen in southern tropics. However, they can be seen anywhere in northern hemisphere, where the radiant is lower in the sky. According to the AMS, the Alpha Capracornids may be seen by anyone on either side.
When it comes to when you should go outside, wait until it is dark. The time will vary depending on where you live. As with most celestial phenomena, the darker the sky, the greater your chances of seeing anything. According to Griffith Observatory, both showers will continue throughout the night and will reach their peak at dawn.
These meteor showers can be seen without any special equipment. The magic of nighttime can be experienced without any equipment. Jackie Faherty is a Hubble Fellow at Carnegie Institute for Sciences Earth and Planets Laboratory. She told Prevention that you don't need to have anything to distract your night vision.