Watch The Meteor Showers in 2012


Meteor Showers in 2012

What are meteor showers?

An increase in the number of meteors at a particular time of year is called a meteor shower.

Comets shed the debris that becomes most meteor showers. As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet’s orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower. Depending on where Earth and the stream meet, meteors appear to fall from a particular place in the sky, maybe within the neighborhood of a constellation.

Meteor showers are named by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall, a spot in the sky astronomers call the radiant. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is located in the constellation Leo. The Perseid meteor shower is so named because meteors appear to fall from a point in the constellation Perseus.

The next meteor shower is the Quadrantids on the night of January 3, 2012. This shower is one of the year’s most active, with perhaps 80 to 100 meteors per hour at its peak. The peak lasts only an hour or two, however, so the viewing window is brief. The Moon sets by around 3 a.m., leaving a few hours of unobstructed viewing before dawn.

 

Name

Date of Peak

Moon

Quadrantids

night of January 3

Sets after midnight

Lyrids

night of April 21

New

Eta Aquarids

night of May 5

Full

Perseids

night of August 13

Morning crescent

Orionids

night of October 21

First quarter

Leonids

night of November 17

Evening crescent

Geminids

night of December 13

New

NOTES These are approximate times for the Lower 48 states; actual shower times can vary. Bright moonlight makes it difficult to see all but the brightest meteors.

Source: http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors