Photo by Shutterstock
Photo by Shutterstock
Eyes to the skies!
Want to travel to dark sky spots but don’t know when? Follow this meteor shower calendar for the best dates.
With more International Dark Sky Parks than ever before, stargazers have plenty of reasons to keep their eyes to the sky in 2022. While you’ve got the where to go covered, we’ve compiled a calendar so you can know exactly when the next meteor shower will be happening throughout the year.
Active between December 26, 2021, and January 16, 2022, the Quadrantids peak late at night on January 2 and into the early morning hours of January 3. A new moon falls on this same night, allowing for completely dark skies. Under the best conditions, you’ll see an average of 25 meteors per hour during the Quadrantids, making it one of the stronger showers of the year.
Typically, the Lyrids are only considered to be a medium strength meteor shower. In 2022, they will peak on a night when the moon is 67 percent full, making it harder to see meteors against the moonlit sky. The entire Lyrid meteor shower is active from April 15 to April 29, 2022, and it is best seen from the Northern Hemisphere. You can also view it from the Southern Hemisphere, but expect lower rates of meteors there.
Best seen from the southern tropics, the Eta Aquariids are active between April 15 and May 27, 2022. The moon will be 15 percent full, providing mostly dark skies to see these meteors.
Best viewed from the southern tropics, the Southern Delta Aquariids are active between July 18 and August 21, 2022. The peak night will happen on July 29, when the moon will be only 1 percent full.
The following night—when the moon is just 5 percent full—the Alpha Capricornids will peak. Seen just as well from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, the entire meteor shower is active between July 7 and August 15, 2022. Even though it’s not a strong shower (expect only about five meteors per hour), the ones you will see are likely to be bright fireballs.
While the Perseids are not the strongest shower of the year (that title goes to the Geminids in December), they are the most popular because they fall on warm summer nights. Active between July 14 and September 1, 2022, the Perseids will max out the night of August 11, 2022. Unfortunately, the moon will be 100 percent full on this night, making it hard to see the shooting stars this year.
In exceptional years, the Orionids can produce up to 75 meteors per hour. But that hasn’t happened since 2009. In a normal year, as 2022 is predicted to be, expect between 10 to 20 meteors per hour. The moon will be 21 percent full that night. The entire shower is active between September 26 and November 22, 2022.
While the Leonids can produce outbursts of activity in certain years, 2022 is expected to only get about 15 meteors per hour during the shower’s peak on the night of November 17, into the predawn hours of November 18. The moon will also be 36 percent full that night. Lasting from November 3 to December 2, 2022, the Leonids are known for particularly bright meteors.
The Geminids are the strongest meteor shower of the year. However in 2022, the peak falls on the night of December 13, when the moon will be 72 percent full, making dark sky conditions hard to find. Around 50 meteors per hour are expected during the Geminids each year. The entire shower lasts from November 19 to December 24, 2022.
Remember, light pollution is your enemy. As you start planning trips to catch these celestial shows, be sure to seek out a dark sky place by searching the International Dark-Sky Association’s website for locations. It also doesn’t hurt to consult annual weather reports to double-check whether or not you’ll have to contend with cloud cover. Once you’re there, head outside for about 45 minutes before the meteor shower hits its peak so your eyes can adjust to the dark. And don’t forget to bring chairs and blankets to stay comfy and cozy.
This article originally appeared online on December 23, 2019; it was updated in December 2020, July 2021, October 2021, and again on January 3, 2022, to include current information.
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