While you’re out experiencing the great outdoors, look up! Here’s when you can see shooting stars in summer 2017.
Shooting Star Viewing Tips
There are meteor showers on specific days throughout the year as Earth orbits the sun, but every day, there are a few shooting stars.
Shooting stars occur when meteoroids – pieces of dust and rock in space – enter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up due to friction in the air. Meteor showers cause lots of shooting stars because Earth’s orbit passes through a stream of meteoroids.
You can see shooting stars and meteor showers from anywhere as long as it’s dark enough. The glow of city lights, street lights, and even bright moonlight obstruct your view. A dark sky is best.
Between midnight and dawn, shooting stars are more frequent.
This is because of the way Earth rotates, and because after the moon sets, the sky is at its darkest. At dawn, your location on the Earth’s surface faces the same way that Earth is traveling in it’s orbit. Because you’re essentially traveling head-on into space just before dawn, this is when you’re most likely to see shooting stars, and meteor shower activity generally peaks.
Want to go stargazing with your family this summer? Outside of meteor showers, you’re most likely to see lots of shooting stars:
- During or near a new moon
- Far from artificial lights
- When there are few or no clouds in the sky
- Just before dawn
In summer, the sun rises around 5 AM, so you might prefer to set an alarm and wake up early, or you can stay up all night stargazing.
Summer 2017 Meteor Showers
One of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year – the Perseid shower – happens over the summer. Only the winter Geminid showers have a higher frequency of meteors per hour.
Before the Perseid showers, though, you’ll get great stargazing out of the Delta Aquarid showers on July 30.
During the Delta Aquarid meteor showers, look to the south. If viewing conditions are favorable, you can expect about 10 meteors every hour, on average, with the most activity just before dawn.
The Perseid showers are also best viewed just before dawn, and with favorable viewing conditions and a clear sky, you can hope to see an average of 50 meteors per hour on August 11, 12, and 13. The moon will be waning during this shower, so waiting until the 13th might give you the best chance to see a lot of shooting stars. It all depends on the weather!
Ready for a night of stargazing?