Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower: How to Catch Its Peak Moments This Weekend
Sure, the total lunar eclipse is going to be lit this weekend, but don’t fixate on just that. The rare blood moon will be supported against a backdrop of meteors, so stargazers may want to shift their attention to the radiant point of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower throughout the night as well.
The Delta Aquarids kicked off on July 12 and will continue until August 23, but it will reach its nominal peak on the night of July 27 and until dawn on July 28. This just so happens to line up with the total lunar eclipse, and while full moons usually drown out the appearance of meteors in an already bright sky, the blood moon on July 27 might create a dim enough setting for the Delta Aquarids to make their appearance.
Weather permitting, these meteors are best viewed in the Southern Hemisphere and in the southern regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Its radiant point — from which most meteors will appear to originate — is near Skat, as a star in the constellation Aquarius. This star is only the third brightest in an already dim constellation, but stargazers can estimate its location either by locating the Great Square of Pegasus (Skat can always be found directly south of this brighter constellation) or by downloading a stargazing app to help locate the ideal direction for viewing.
The Delta Aquarids tend to appear fainter than the upcoming Perseid meteor shower, but will still appear frequently, especially around 2 a.m. in any local timezone. NASA reminds stargazers not to be discouraged if they don’t see anything right away. In less than 30 minutes, a person’s eyes will adapt to the dark and they’ll begin to see meteors.
For those who miss the July 27 meteor shower, the Delta Aquarids will continue until August 23 and even overlap with the Perseids on August 12. Since the Perseids radiate from the constellation Perseus, stargazers can expect meteor showers from two separate directions that night.
The total lunar eclipse on July 27 will not be as visible in North America, making the meteor shower somewhat of a consolation prize to those who can’t see the rare eclipse. Whether stargazers can see both celestial happenings or are only in a prime spot for one, be sure to look up on July 27.
It’s D🌝PE SPACE WEEK: July 23-29, 2018, will see a full moon (the “Full Buck Moon”); a total lunar eclipse that will see it turned a bloody color; Mars at opposition, wherein the red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth; and the Delta Aquarid meteor shower. Such a confluence of dope celestial events calls for the first semi-annual Inverse Dope Space Week! Be sure to join our private Dope Space Pics Facebook group to share in the strange wonder of space all year long. And listen to I Need My Space, the Inverse weekly podcast about the weirdness of space.