Basic Astronomy

Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower

The Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower peaks on July 28 or 29 July but it is usually visible from mid July to mid August each year. One can see 15-20 meteors per hour during peak.

The Delta Aquariids get their name because the shower appears to radiant from the constellation Aquarius, near one of the constellation's brightest stars, Delta Aquarii. There are two branches of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower, Northern and Southern. The Southern Delta Aquariids are considered a strong shower, with an average meteor observation rate of 15-20 per hour, and a peak zenith hourly rate of 18. The average radiant is at RA=339o, DEC=-17o. The Northern Delta Aquariids are a relatively weaker shower, peaking later in mid August, with an average peak rate of 10 meteors per hour and an average radiant of RA=340o, DEC=-2o

How can you watch the show?

The meteors of the Southern Delta Aquariids shower appear to lie in the constellation Aquarius, near one of the constellation's brightest stars, Delta Aquarii.

Southern Hemisphere viewers usually get a better show because the radiant is higher in the sky during the peak season. Since the radiant is above the southern horizon for Northern Hemisphere viewers, meteors will primarily fan out in all compass points, north, east and west. Few meteors will be seen heading southward, unless they are fairly short and near the radiant.

You should watch towards Aquarius when the sky is darkest in your area. The best viewing times are usually about midnight to 2 am.

As always, if you can go far from the city, you will see better view of sky due to less light pollution. You may like to lie on a blanket in a park or rooftop to enjoy the show. It will also help you to have access of full view of the sky.

Related story

Meteor shower calendar

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