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NASA image of Delta Aquariids

NEVADA CITY, Calif. July 29, 2019 – Enjoy the balmy night, step outside and look up! Three different meteor showers are underway and two of them will peak tonight.

The Southern delta Aquariids are mostly visible in the southern tropics but can be seen here as well. Mostly faint meteors at a good rate across the southern sky. The Aquarids are active from July 12 through August 23 and peak tonight. NASA Has some viweing tips: “The Delta Aquariids are best viewed in the Southern Hemisphere and southern latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Find an area well away from city or street lights. Come prepared with a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair. Lie flat on your back and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible. Looking halfway between the horizon and the zenith, and 45 degrees from the constellation of Aquarius will improve your chances of viewing the Delta Aquariids. In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Be patient—the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.

The pieces of space debris that interact with our atmosphere to create the Delta Aquariids are suspected to originate from comet 96P/Machholz. This short period comet orbits the sun about once every five years.

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Comet Machholz was discovered by Donald Machholz in 1986. Comet Machholz’s nucleus is about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) across (a little more than half the size of the object hypothesized to have led to the demise of the dinosaurs).”

Next up, the alpha Capricornids. Not a terribly strong meteor shower, but they produce a number of bright fireballs during their peak activity week. The Capricornids are active from July 3 through August 15 and peak tonight.

Lastly, the Perseids are visible in the night sky. they will peak on August 12-13.Active from July 17 through August 26. According to the AmericanMeteor Socity, “Normal rates seen from rural locations range from 50-75 shower members per hour at maximum.The Perseids are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during its numerous returns to the inner solar system. They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the meteors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero when at maximum activity.”