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Meteor Day and Annual Meteor Shower Schedule

Updated on February 26, 2013

Start the Summer Meteor Season on June 30th with National Meteor Day!

National Meteor Day is the kickoff day to the annual summer season of meteor showers. Seeing a meteor isn't guaranteed, as they are only just beginning to build up to shower stage at this point.

Which of course makes seeing one even more exciting!

And if you don't catch a shooting star on June 30th, you can try again the next night...and the next. During the weeks following National Meteor Day, things in the sky will really start cooking!

Image Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons by Mbiz1

Perseids Meteor Shower
Perseids Meteor Shower

Are Meteors Really Shooting Stars?

Although that is exactly what they look like from here on earth, no. Meteors are actually nothing more than cosmic space dust. Most are about the size of a regular pebble and burn up in the earth's atmosphere long before reaching the surface. The much larger ones that actually make it through are called meteorites.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons by User Lars Lindberg Christensen

When is the Next Meteor Shower?

Well, to begin with, it depends on when exactly you are asking that question. Meteor showers occur all throughout the year, so you can catch a shooting star in just about any month or season. The good news is that we know when the night sky will be the most active and can therefore plan ahead.

How do we know? It's pretty simple really. Every year while taking her annual orbit around the sun, the Earth passes through certain areas of the sky around the same time each year. So we also pass through those cosmic dust and debris fields on a regular basis. And that's what meteor showers are made of.

For now, we'll go in calendar order and list the most popular (and active showers). We'll list some tips on the best way to view a shower a little later on.

Leonids Meteor Shower
Leonids Meteor Shower

Image Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons by Azzi Ergon

  1. The Quandrantids: This is the very first shower of the year, peaking in 2012 in early hours of January 4th. While this shower is very active, and can produce more than 100 meteors in a single hour's time, it is also hard to catch. That's because the window for this shower is very small--lasting only a matter of hours rather than days. if you want to catch this shower, be sure to stay alert to the news...
  2. The Lyrids: The Lyrids' show takes place around the middle of April. In 2012 it peaked around April 21st. You can expect to catch around around 10 to 20 shooting stars an hour, though at times there may be periods of much greater activity.
  3. The Eta Aquarids: This meteor shower peaks in the early days of May. In 2012 that meant a full moon--not the best viewing time for meteors. However with upwards of 50 or more an hour, even with brightest moon, some are bound to be bright enough to be seen.
  4. The Perseids: This is actually my favorite. This active shower (around 50 an hour) comes in mid-August (12th to the 13th), which in my neck of the woods is perfect camping weather. In 2012 this should be a great shower to catch, as there will be a fading crescent moon.
  5. The Orionids: This mid October shower is a bit slower than some of the others, with the peak viewing times only hosting meteors at a rate of around a dozen or so an hour. However, for 2012, another crescent moon should prove easy showing. Peak activity should be around October 20th and 21st.
  6. The Leonids: The middle of November brings the most famous of all recurring meteor showers, the Leonids. In the past, this shower has actually earned the rank of meteor storm a time or two. Usually, though, this is a slower shower as well--10 to 15 an hour. 2012 peak should occur late November 16th.
  7. The Geminids: The last show of the year. This shower happens in the middle of December. But trust me, it's worth putting on a coat or even wrapping up a blanket to catch this one. Especially in 2012 when the shower will happen during a new moon--giving us a perfect dark sky...all the better to catch the last shooting stars of the year.

Bring the Night Sky Indoors - The Moon, Stars, and More

This is a great way to get kids interested in astronomy, but I have to admit...I really like it too. It is wonderfully relaxing and calming to lie in bed and gaze up at glowing stars... or even the moon. Whatever your favorite night-time sky viewing object is, we have you covered here.

Moon In My Room Remote Control Wall Décor Night Light
Moon In My Room Remote Control Wall Décor Night Light

The moon is my all time favorite! It's just so big and beautiful. This wonderful product can be mounted high on a wall, or the ceiling. Best of all, it comes with a remote control that allows the viewer to change the moon's phases--12 to choose from! The control is easy, even for kids...

 
Uncle Milton - Shooting Stars in My Room
Uncle Milton - Shooting Stars in My Room

Have your own meteor shower indoors!

 
Uncle Milton Star Theater SE
Uncle Milton Star Theater SE

This will really bring the night sky indoors! Help your family learn the constellations from the comfort of their own bedrooms.

 
Great Explorations Star Explosion
Great Explorations Star Explosion

If you aren't worried about accuracy, then this product will work well for you. Simply stick the stars onto the ceiling. No batteries or electricity required!

 

NASA Video on the Perseid Meteor Shower

NOTE: While this video mentions a full moon for the Perseid Meteor Shower, that information is not true for the 2012 viewing season. The moon on the peak August evenings this year will be a fading crescent--perfect for catching sight of a lot of meteors!

How to Catch a Shooting Star

Or at the Least, to See One...

Probably the best thing of all about meteor showers is that you don't need any fancy equipment to view them! In fact, with meteors, the use of a telescope or even astronomy binoculars can be a hindrance rather than a help. The only thing you need is an open pair of eyes.

Of course, there are some tips that will make your viewing much easier. First of all you will need a clear view of the night sky. If you are camping under trees, they could get in the way of your view. So choose an open place for your viewing site.

Next, the darker the area the better you will be able to see. So try to get away from the lights of the city and out into the country if possible. If not, don't despair...there should be plenty of bright meteors that you can catch even in the city (as long as you can see stars in the sky, that is). But the general of thumb is darker is better.

Lastly, think about your comfort and the weather. If it's cold, be sure to take blankets or a cold-weather sleeping bag. If it is hot, be sure to dress appropriately as well. And a lounge chair or just a blanket on the ground is a great way to view the night sky without getting a dreaded crook in the neck from looking up!

Image Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons by C m Handler

Beginning Astronomy Books on Amazon

If you are new to astronomy, these books can be a great help.

Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas
Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas

Meteor Showers are named for the Constellation that they appear to come from. This guide can help you to focus your viewing on the parts of the sky that will be most active.

 
NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe

This book was my beginning guide to astronomy. Jam packed with information for the amateur astronomer.

 
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide

Another great book for the beginner. Learn just what you can see from your own backyard...and how best to see it!

 
Astronomy For Dummies
Astronomy For Dummies

The name says it all...

 

Have You Ever Seen A Meteor? - Let Us Know!

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    • profile image

      moonlitta 5 years ago

      I am amazed they happen all round the year, I only knew about the Perseids. Lovely to learn there are much, much more to see!

    • henrikflensborg profile image

      henrikflensborg 5 years ago

      Yeah, multiple times - plenty during the recent (and still ongoing) Perseids meteor shower

    • djh4yla profile image

      djh4yla 5 years ago

      Too bad we get light contamination on cities, makes quite hard to watch the stars.

    • profile image

      gaser983 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens, nicely done! Squidlike

    • profile image

      RocklawnArts 5 years ago

      Yes! Often difficult with a full moon or overcast skies but I have seen some. The Perseids are my favorite too. Put it on my calendar for this year. :)

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      yes, I do believe I have...in the 1990's (about 1992 or 1993) a long string of what looked like green meteors in the sky..can't remember the date but it was a date to watch the sky and my oldest and I were outside watching the night sky when we spotted it

    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      It seems every time I'm ready to watch meteor showers that it is cloudy!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      You make me want to go outside. Congratulations on your Lens of the Day and Purple Star recognition for this lens. Blessings.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      Can't say that I actually have. I think it would be exciting to see.

    • profile image

      JennySui 5 years ago

      Congrats on LotD!

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      The dune around my home are the perfect place to see these showers. I'll be there for sure in August! Nice lens, d

    • profile image

      julia007 5 years ago

      Yes! Meteor shower is very beautiful!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've never seen a meteor shower, but always wanted to. I love that shooting star gadget. How fun is that? Great lens.

    • BowWowBear profile image

      BowWowBear 5 years ago

      Great Site to find all those dates for the showers! Thanks for the info!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      I love getting up early, sitting in the hot tub with coffee, and watching the meteor showers. And, now, I know when to do that to get the most action. Blessed!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      Congratulation on your LotD and the Purple Star award. Very interesting lens,

    • copperdragon profile image

      copperdragon 5 years ago

      perseids fall on my birthday - so always a great birthday treat. nice lens.

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 5 years ago

      Neat holiday, your lens intro photo is so very beautiful.

    • ArthurF LM profile image

      ArthurF LM 5 years ago

      I love astronomy but I live in the city so there is no point in buying a telescope with all the light pollution. How I envy you!

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 5 years ago from Washington KS

      Yes, I've seen meteors and meteor showers, Amazing!!

      Loved the lens and congrats on LOTD.

    • Deborah Swain profile image

      Deborah Swain 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      The Perseus Meteor Shower on the Night of San Lorenzo in August is a popular one in Italy as it coincides with the Saint's Day! Often called the "tears of Saint Lawrence"...

    • menskincaretips profile image

      menskincaretips 5 years ago

      Yes! I saw a meteor only once so far, it goes by really fast!

    • casper2012 profile image

      casper2012 5 years ago

      Awesome lens! thanks.

    • profile image

      fryroost 5 years ago

      Awesome...congratz for the another featured lens! thanks for the share

    • profile image

      breece 5 years ago

      Well done Belinda! You should see some of the amazing nights we have in the outback of Australia.

    • profile image

      DanielleRose 5 years ago

      Wow, beautiful pictures! Wish things like this happened more often in England.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I have! Not very often as we very often have cloudy skies but August might be a good time to watch in the Pacific NW. Great article! Blessings. :)

    • medassistant85 profile image

      medassistant85 5 years ago

      Yes! I just saw one night before last fly through the sky.

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 5 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      Yes, I have seen them far away and also quite close. They are so exciting. They help make the sky magical.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Can't remember exactly which year, but sometime in the early 90's, the Perseid shower was especially active. Some friends and I went up to rural Wisconsin and watched it nearly all night. Spectacular! Congrats on LOTD!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      No I haven't seen a meteor, but would love to. Congratulations for LotD.

    • profile image

      Sandic 5 years ago

      I would love to see one! Congats on the Lens of the day! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 5 years ago

      Indeed I am lucky enough to have seen quite a few, especially during Perseids...my favorite! Second favorite is Leonids... something about staying out late at night in the crisp Nov weather is exciting. What a wonderful lens!! ~blessed~

    • daedrea lm profile image

      daedrea lm 5 years ago

      I would love to find a meteor. I hear they are worth quite a bit of money.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      The Perseids are always soon after my birthday, so I always remember to check those out. And yes, I've definitely seen a meteor during that time. We used to get comfortable in lawn chairs with the kids and watch. Good memories! Congratulations on this fabulous lens of the day!

    • profile image

      sulrich4733 5 years ago

      in the late 1990's I viewed the persied metor shower laying on the ground outside my in-laws house in Los Alamos New Mexico. This is around 7500 feet above sea level. The stars looked larger than life and the metors came fast and furious - just awesome.

    • profile image

      Natural_Skin_Care 5 years ago

      I would absolutely love to see a meteor streak across the sky.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      The Perseids are my favourite meteor shower, because I can lie out on the lawn and watch 'falling stars' in a comfortable temperature. :)

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      very cool to know, thanks so much for sharing this, BLESSED!!!

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      very cool to know, thanks so much for sharing this, BLESSED!!!

    • PristeamDetail LM profile image

      PristeamDetail LM 5 years ago

      Congats on the Lens of the day! I'm hoping to get one of my lenses there soon! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 5 years ago

      Great lens on a heavenly subject. And I'm just in time! Congratulations on LotD.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      I love falling stars. Thanks for the lens, and congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Thank you for publishing this lens. I'll mark the calendar for the next meteor shower.

    • TrinaSonnenberg profile image

      Trina Sonenberg 5 years ago from Nucla, Colorado

      Wow! This is really cool. Great information on such a fascinating subject. Thumbs up for ya!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Can't say that I've ever seen a meteor but I know a great lens when I see one. Very nice work and congratulations on getting LoTD!

    • alaiamax lm profile image

      alaiamax lm 5 years ago

      Great Lens! congratulations on LOTD :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Guess it's time for me to dust off my telescope. Congratulations on making LOTD. Great job.

    • greenmind profile image

      FCM 5 years ago from USA

      yes! cool lens, thanks. I'll keep my eyes open tonight...

    • profile image

      mhiweb 5 years ago

      Congratulations for being Lens Of The Day...Great work

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have seen a few now and then, and have wanted to catch a meteor shower before, but it always seemed like I would hear about it when it was too late and I had missed it. Now I know when the showers are and can plan in advance accordingly. Thanks for the lens, the video (that was cool) and congratulations on winning LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I will be on the lookout! Thanks for the heads up!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Congratulations on winning the Lend of The Day (LOTD)!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Once. I was walking home from the pub with a mate. We both saw it briefly before it vanished. I will never forget it. More beer and I might have done.

    • newage74 profile image

      newage74 5 years ago

      Fascinating read 5*****

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I'm so glad I saw this. Can't wait for tonight.

    • Anastacia EG profile image

      Anastacia Gutierrez 5 years ago

      Oh my, I would be shocked to learn that there are people who have never seen a meteor/shooting star!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      OH, yes. Many times. I'm old... that helps! ;-) Thanks for a fun lens! ;-)

    • Kae Yo profile image

      Kae Yo 5 years ago

      One night, when I was a teenager, my brothers and dad and I brought out sleeping bags in the middle of our driveway in the country. We watched a meteor shower from there before the clouds rolled in. It was such a good time! Congratulations on LOTD!

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Yes, out in the desert away from city lights they are very visible when you sit still and just watch. This is a great day and great lens.

    • alina nicoleta92 profile image

      alina nicoleta92 5 years ago

      Superb lens. I just love it.

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 5 years ago

      I live in the country side so hopefully get a good view.

    • sociopath-free profile image

      sociopath-free 5 years ago

      @Zodiacimmortal: I didn't know NASA had a meteor site - cool!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Cool, I just got a black hole for my monster room from moshi mag - it looks similar to the meteor pics :)

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 5 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      Cool lens! I didn't know there was actually a meteor shower day! I'm adding this to my favorite lenses lens in the science section

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes, I have seen more than one and in varying degrees of luminance. Always offers a sense of connection to the cosmos. We are dust in the wind or dust in the cosmos. :) Thanks and congrats on LOTD

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes. The view of the sky in Arizona is outstanding and I saw several when I lived there. Contrats on LOTD - very informative lens.

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      Yes I have and I made a wish! Fun lens! Congrats on LOTD.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens and congratulations on LOTD!!!! Watching meteor showers is magical and one of my favorite things to do!

    • kitsiu lm profile image

      kitsiu lm 5 years ago

      Congratulation LOTD. I saw meteor shower once. It was very beautiful. A mini fireworks in the sky...

    • profile image

      candy47 5 years ago

      Great lens on meteor showers. Congratulations of LOTD :)

    • CoeGurl profile image

      CoeGurl 5 years ago from USA

      I visited Meteor Crater in Arizona. That was really cool. Great lens!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What a wonderful idea for a lens - I'd certainly like to see a meteor shower. I've seen a meteor here and there, but never a full shower, but now with this resource, I should be able to catch one! Blessed by a SquidAngel, and congrats on LotD! :)

    • profile image

      stillrunnin88 5 years ago

      Great lens.

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      Excellent lens. We don't see much in the middle of London, but I remember camping in the New Forest one August and I saw showers and shooting stars. Congratulations on LoTD. *blessed*

    • gamrslist profile image

      gamrslist 5 years ago

      cool lens than you for sharing

    • nicks44 profile image

      nicks44 5 years ago

      No I did not, but I hope to see one pretty soon :)

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Yes. The most magnificent one was a shower in late June 2000 in Invercargill, New Zealand. I was already mesmerized by the southern hemisphere's constellations, but I also caught a meteor shower during my visit.

    • ofwdin lm profile image

      ofwdin lm 5 years ago

      Great lens :) learned a lot

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I have witnessed a Meteor shower when I was young...interesting and informative lens.

    • Zebedee32 profile image

      Zebedee32 5 years ago

      Yes I have and it was awesome! Nice lens

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 5 years ago

      Awesome, congratulations on Lens of the Day!

    • belinda342 profile image
      Author

      belinda342 5 years ago

      @PaigSr: Now that would be a shooting star I wouldn't want to 'catch'! Although seeing it was probably totally awesome! Point of fact though, is that if it actually made it to the ground it became a meteorite...just another word for really really big meteor that made it thru Earth's atmosphere intact!

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 5 years ago

      Wow great, hopefully I get a good view here in Ireland

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      Beautiful topic and nicely presented, thank you, and congrats on becoming a LOTD! :)

    • profile image

      lovemicheala 5 years ago

      Amazing LOTD! Congratulations

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations, this amazing lens was selected as LOTD today. You can read all about it at SquidooHQ: http://hq.squidoo.com/lotd/meteor-day-and-annual-m...

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Yes, many times in the midwest portion of the country. We have viewed from our yard and driveway and have also driven out to a less populated area and viewed from the roof of our car. A great summer activity. I never knew there were so many "scheduled" showers! Thanks for the great info and great lens. Congrats on LOTD!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      As kids, I can remember laying on blankets in the backyard and looking up in hopes of seeing a meteor. We were often rewarded with a bright streak of light across the night sky!

    • danniblaze profile image

      danniblaze 5 years ago

      Great Lens. I hope to one day see a shooting star

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Congratulations on LotD! Nicely done and very interesting :>)

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 5 years ago from State of Confussion

      Here is a fun one for you...

      Try drieving home late at night. Suddenly the night sky starts lighting up with a bright blue light. As you pull off the road to look up a large object goes flying over head. You and one other driver are on the road both looking up in awe. You then spend the next half hour driving around town tracking down the local police to make sure you were not dreaming. Good news I wasn't, the meteor touched down in the next town over.

    • skefflingecho profile image

      skefflingecho 5 years ago from Tobermory Ontario

      Awesome lens, congratulations Belinda on LOTD! Blessed.

    • profile image

      peterjeremy 5 years ago

      Yes, as it is so hot here in Malta, I spend a large portion of the summer by the sea, staring at the night sky. Unfortunately because of the light pollution I only catch the brightest ones. In France, at my parents place in the countryside however, I manage to see loads. A beautiful and humbling experience indeed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens.

    • Celticep profile image

      Celticep 5 years ago

      Interesting information. Would love to see this but would have to travel somewhere quieter to be in with a chance I think :)

    • profile image

      simpleworks 5 years ago

      yes! in fact, I have seen the shower two years in a row without even planning it, the first time after my aunts wedding and the second shower while camping with some friends. It's a unique phenomen and it is amazing! very original lens! congrats!

    • bestvpn1 profile image

      bestvpn1 5 years ago

      like this story

    • profile image

      rheafox 5 years ago

      An informative squidoo about meteors. Thanks for the useful info here.

    • profile image

      sdmary 5 years ago

      Great lens - I also love the Perseids - Nature's entertainment and wonder!