2 Meteor Showers, 5 planets and a comet

I did manage to catch a quick glimpse of Comet Neowise tonight from Milroy in my 9*63 binoculars but it was low in height and then a tree and cloud got in the way! Now we have 2 days of forecast cloud and rain 🙁

The southern Delta-Aquariids are active every year from around July 12 to August 23. This year the meteor shower is peaking on Monday, July 27 into Tuesday and Wednesday. look to the North East.

Under ideal conditions, skywatchers can expect to see about 25 meteors per hour.

Delta Aquariid meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer. The radiant point aligns with the star Skat (Delta Aquarii) — giving the shower its name.

Meteors are leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids. The comet astronomers suspect is responsible for the meteor shower is called 96P/Macholz, which was discovered in 1986 by Donald Machholz and orbits the sun about once every five years.

Also the alpha Capricornids have been active since July 2 and will be through to August 10, also peaking early next week.

This meteor shower is much less active, producing only about 3 meteors per hour. The average alpha Capricornid meteor is relatively slow, but the shower does bring with it stunning fireballs.

The meteors appear to radiate from the border of the Sagittarius and Aquila constellations, just southeast of a star called 37 Aquilae and west of Alpha2 Capricorni (Algedi).

The Delta-Aquariids are clearly visible from the Southern Hemisphere, but mid-northern latitudes will also be able to spot the show. Meteors will be visible in the days surrounding the showers’ peaks.

The faint meteors of the Delta-Aquariids, which lack persistent trains and fireballs, can be difficult to spot, especially if the moon is present. So, searching during the shower’s peak will give viewers the best chance to see meteors.

Alternatively, the alpha Capricornids produces a high number of bright fireballs, despite lacking strength. This shower is seen equally well on either side of the equator.

Weather permitting, I recommend finding a place with a clear view of a large stretch of the sky, preferably towards the south. Move far away from any sources of light and look up on Monday morning between about 2am and 5am around dawn. Similar views will be available for several days early next week.

Lie flat on your back and look up, allowing your eyes several minutes to adjust before taking in as much of the sky as possible. Be patient — the show will last until dawn.

Also you will get the chance to see closer to morning twilight 5 planets in the sky at once.

Jupiter low in the West with Saturn trailing above it – Mars almost over head and very bright Venus in the East with Mercury lower and fainter towards the horizon.

Donna the Astronomer

I am a keen astronomer lucky enough to live and work in Coonabarabran the Astronomy Capital of Australia! I am a ‘Drover’s Brat’ and discoverer of a couple of comets and asteroids. I operate Milroy Observatory and can show you how to best integrate dark sky experiences into your tourism, farm stay or AirBnB business.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ggreybeard

    I’ve all but given up on seeing this beautiful comet, Donna. Now it’s above our evening horizon but no clear sky for the foreseeable future, as it begins to dim! 🙄

    1. I get really lucky to catch it – dark skies were good but still in twilight hoping it will clear weather wise in next 2 dayside

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