Rockford Scanner™: Two Active Meteor Showers, Fireballs And Lots Of Meteors!

Alpha Capricornids
Active from July 11th to August 10th , 2018

Peak night
Jul 26-27 2018

The Alpha Capricornids are active from July 11 through August with a “plateau-like” maximum centered on July 29. This shower is not very strong and rarely produces in excess of five shower members per hour. What is notable about this shower is the number of bright fireballs produced during its activity period. This shower is seen equally well on either side of the equator.

Radiant: 20:28 -10.2° – ZHR: 5 – Velocity: 15 miles/sec (slow – 24km/sec) – Parent Object: 169P/NEAT

Active from July 13th to August 26th , 2018

Peak night
Aug 11-12 2018

The Perseids are the most popular meteor shower as they peak on warm August nights as seen from the northern hemisphere. The Perseids are active from July 13 to August 26. They reach a strong maximum on August 12 or 13, depending on the year. Normal rates seen from rural locations range from 50-75 shower members per hour at maximum.The Persesids are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during its numerous returns to the inner solar system. They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the meteors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero when at maximum activity.

Radiant: 03:12 +57.6° – ZHR: 100 – Velocity: 37 miles/sec (swift – 60km/sec) – Parent Object: 109P/Swift-Tuttle

Late evening to dawn on August 11, 12 and 13, 2018, the Perseids
The Perseid meteor shower is perhaps the most beloved meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a rich meteor shower, and it’s steady. Best of all, the slender waxing crescent moon will set at early evening, providing deliciously dark skies for this year’s Perseid meteors. These swift and bright meteors radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero. As with all meteor shower radiant points, you don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower; instead, the meteors appear in all parts of the sky. These meteors frequently leave persistent trains. Perseid meteors tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. In 2018, the peak night of this shower will be totally free of moonlight. Predicted peak in 2018: the night of August 12-13, but try the nights before and after, too, from late night until dawn.

All you need to Know: Perseid meteor shower



What is a meteor shower?
A meteor shower is a spike in the number of meteors or “shooting stars” that streak through the night sky.

Most meteor showers are spawned by comets. As a comet orbits the Sun it sheds an icy, dusty debris stream along its orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower. Although the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, if you trace their paths, the meteors in each shower appear to “rain” into the sky from the same region.

Meteor showers are named for the constellation that coincides with this region in the sky, a spot known as the radiant. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is in the constellation Leo. The Perseid meteor shower is so named because meteors appear to fall from a point in the constellation Perseus.

How can I best view a meteor shower?
Get away from the glow of city lights and toward the constellation from which the meteors will appear to radiate.

For example, drive north to view the Leonids. Driving south may lead you to darker skies, but the glow will dominate the northern horizon, where Leo rises. Perseid meteors will appear to “rain” into the atmosphere from the constellation Perseus, which rises in the northeast around 11 p.m. in mid-August.

After you’ve escaped the city glow, find a dark, secluded spot where oncoming car headlights will not periodically ruin your sensitive night vision. Look for state or city parks or other safe, dark sites.

Once you have settled at your observing spot, lie back or position yourself so the horizon appears at the edge of your peripheral vision, with the stars and sky filling your field of view. Meteors will instantly grab your attention as they streak by.

How do I know the sky is dark enough to see meteors?
If you can see each star of the Little Dipper, your eyes have “dark adapted,” and your chosen site is probably dark enough. Under these conditions, you will see plenty of meteors.

What should I pack for meteor watching?
Treat meteor watching like you would the 4th of July fireworks. Pack comfortable chairs, bug spray, food and drinks, blankets, plus a red-filtered flashlight for reading maps and charts without ruining your night vision. Binoculars are not necessary. Your eyes will do just fine.

Meteor Shower Calendar