Meteor Showers to Catch in 2014

As people recover from waking up early on Saturday to see the Camelopardalids meteor shower, they will have a second chance for another heavenly sighting on Saturday night. The final part of the meteor shower, a comet, will pass by earth from Saturday evening. The passage of the comet will be a rare sighting.

Throughout the rest of the year, there will be several other meteor showers that both novice and serious astronomers can catch. The May Camelopardalids meteor shower, which was visible across the continental United States (but was in the middle of the night) was just the beginning, according to NASA.

There are a number of other meteor showers that can be seen every year in January, April, July, August, October, and December. Just in the past month, both the Lyrid and Eta Aquarid meteor showers passed by earth.

Next up will be the Delta Aquarid shower in late July or early August, which is typically more visible from the earth’s southern hemisphere. The rate of that shower is about 15-20 meteors per hour when the viewing sky is dark. This year, the Delta shower will probably occur when there is a waxing crescent moon and minimal additional light in the sky.

After Delta Aquarid will be the well-known Perseids shower. The Perseid shower peaks at about 60 meteors per hour and occurs every year in the late summer.

Meteor showers are named by scientists for the constellation where their radiant is located, such as Perseids, which originates in Perseus. The first recorded observation of the Perseid meteor shower was about 2,000 years ago.

Roughly 30 meteor showers are visible every year to people on earth, and some have been occurring for about 100 years. They sometimes have red, green, or yellow trails.

After Perseid, the next big chance for the Northern Hemisphere will be the Draconid meteor shower, which happens in early October. That shower will be followed in October by Orionids, then the South Taurids and the North Taurids.

One of the best showers of the year, visible in both the northern and southern hemispheres, is the Geminids. Visible this year on December 13-14 from mid-evening until dawn, the typically bright showers will be most visible in the evening before moonrise.

A meteor shower happens when the earth passes through a debris trail left by an asteroid or comet. Though meteor showers looks romantic from planet earth, they are technically bits of rock and ice getting ejected from comets as they orbit around the sun.