Picture of a meteor (Leonid) courtesy of Navicore and Wikipedia
Table of meteor showers for 2012
Meteor showers can be a bit hit or miss and in some years a regular shower can be fantastic and other years it can be quite slow. There are actually quite a few more legitimate showers than I have but for the most part they are irregular and slow. These are the yearly best and I have highlighted the absolute best ones in blue for easy recognition. Make note of the red column Peak. This is typically the best day or best couple of days to view the meteor shower.
Meteor showers can sometimes be a bit unexpected in their performance so if there is currently a weak shower going on for you or coming up for you it might be worth spending some time taking a look and watching for it. They can get to be pretty nice, even the weak ones.
Quick overview of some of the more dramatic meteor showers:
- January: The Quadrantids: Up to 120 Per hour and this shower can be seen as originating from the constellation Bootes. See a chart of the constellation Bootes here
- May: Eta Aquarids: up to 60 per hour; This meteor shower is associated with Halley's Comet and this shower can be seen originating from the constellation Aquarius. See a chart of Aquarius and the Eta Aquarids here
- June: Arietids: This is a fairly strong meteor shower that can be up to 60 an hour but it is spread out over a period of time rougly from May 22 to July 2. The peak is usually around June 7th. So, a few days before and after June 7 is typically the best time to view this meteor shower. You can see a star chart of Aries and the Arietids here
- July: The south Delta Aquarids. This meteor shower is spread out over a full month from around July 18 to August 19 and it usually peaks around July 28 & 29 with about 20 shooting stars per hour. You can see a star chart of aquarius here.
- August: The Perseids Meteor shower. This is a pretty good meteor shower that can produce up to 60 shooting stars per hour. It lasts about a month from July 23 to August 22 and it peaks around August 12 and 13. You can see a star chart of Perseus here
- October: The Orionids: Oct 17-25 This is a very interesting meteor shower. It typically has a medium rate of around 20 shooting stars per hour but it is known for producing meteors that are yellow and green which makes it quite unique and it often produces large meteors described as fireballs. It can be an erratic meteor shower that is spread out over a period of time but usually the best is from Oct 17-25 with a peak around Oct 21 and 22. You can see a star chart of Orion here.
- December: The Geminids. This is one of the most reliable meteor showers of the year. They typically come in at 120 shooting stars per hour and they range in color from white to yellow, blue, green and red! The time of the Geminids ranges from December 7 to 17 and they peak on December 13 and 14. I have a star chart of Gemini here.
|Quadrantids||28 Dec - 12 Jan||Jan 4||120||Strong|
|Alpha Centaurids||Jan 28 - Feb 21||Feb 8||6||Medium|
|Gamma Normids||Feb 25 - Mar 22||Mar 14||6||Medium|
|Virginids||Mar 22 - Apr 26||17 Apr||5||Medium|
|Librids||Apr 16 - Apr 30||several||5||Medium|
|Lyrids||Apr 21 - Apr 25||Apr 22||18||Strong|
|Eta Aquarids||Apr 19 - May 28||May 5||65||Strong|
|Arietids||May 22 - Jul 2||Jun 7||54||Strong|
|June Bootids||Jun 22 - Jul 2||Jun 27||18||Medium|
|South Delta Aquarids||Jul 12 - Aug 23||Jul 29||16||Strong|
|Perseids||Jul 17 - Aug 24||Aug 12||100||Strong|
|Daytime Sextantids||sep 26 - 3 Oct||Oct 1||20||Medium|
|Orionids||Oct 2 - Nov 7||Oct 21||25||Strong|
|Leonids||Nov 6 - Nov 30||Nov 17||15||Medium|
|Geminids||Dec 7 - Dec 17||Dec 13||120||Strong|
|Ursids||Dec 17 - Dec 26||Dec 23||10||Strong|