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Peak Shooting Star Dates 2013

Peak Shooting Star Dates 2013

Shooting stars are an interesting phenomenon.  They’re basically chunks of space debris (meteoroids) that are vaporized upon entering earth’s atmosphere (at which point they become meteors).  For reasons I don’t understand, these dazzling displays of space trash are concentrated to some specific and highly predictable times of the year.  So take advantage of this predictability and enjoy the peak meteor shower dates for 2013:

  • January 2nd/3rd  – the Quadrantids
    • Description: A decent shower primarily visible in the northern and western US
    • Best time to watch: After midnight on the 2nd and into dawn on the 3rd.
  • April 21st/22nd – the Lyrids
    • Description: Typically a moderate shower averaging 10-20 bright meteors per hour with occasional bursts of up to 100. Unfortunately in 2013 the waxing (growing) moon will somewhat obscure this shower.
    • Best time to watch: Late night on the 21st, peaking before dawn on the 22nd
  • May 5th/6th – the Eta Aquarids
    • This is primarily a pre-dawn shower that will be primarily visible in the southern US, averages about 10-20 meteors per hour.
    • Best time to watch: Before dawn on both days.
  • July 28th/29th – the Delta Aquarids
    • Description: This is a slow shower with a max of 20/hour and usually less. It also tends to be spread out and without a clear peak.
    • Best time to watch: The best day will be somewhere around July 28th but increased activity can be seen the last week of July and into first week of August. Peak viewing is in the hours before dawn.
  • August 11-13 – the Perseids
    • Description: This is usually one of the best meteor showers of the year. These fast, bright meteors appear all over the sky typically peaking around 50 meteors per hour.
    • Best time to watch: Late night August 11th and 12th and escalating until dawn the following days. Increased activity can also be seen in the days before and after.
  • October 7th – the Draconids
    • Description: This is usually a small, slow shower with only a few meteors per hour but will occasionally surprise you with impressive bursts of activity.
    • Best time to watch: This is an unusually early shower with best viewing after the sun goes down on October 7th until midnight.
  • October 20th/21st – the Orionids
    • Description: A slow to moderate shower of speedy meteors (max around 15/hour). Look for them surrounding the constellation Orion.
    • Best time to watch: Late night on the 20th and increasing until dawn on the 21st. Some activity may also be visible on the 21st night into the 22nd morning.
  • November 4th/5th – the South Taurids
    • Description: This is usually a slow shower with less than 10 meteors per hour. However, it gets extra cool points due to its frequency of super bright meteors called fireballs.
    • Best time to watch: late on the 4th into dawn on the 5th.
  • November 11th/12th – the North Taurids
    • Description: another slow but spread out shower.
    • Best time to watch: Expected to peak around 1 am on the 12th although increased meteor activity is expected through the end of the month.
  • November 16th/17th – the Leonids
    • Description: This is a slow to moderate shower
    • Best time to watch: before dawn on the 17th. Unfortunately the full moon will greatly obscure this shower in 2013.
  • December 13th/14th – the Geminids
    • Description: this is often the best display of the year.  It often produces 50 or more meteors per hour that tend to be clustered in the eastern part of the sky.
    • Best time to watch: The evening of December 13th into dawn on the 14th. Increased activity can be seen for a couple days before and after these dates.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dominicspics/4915681174/

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