How can you find out whether a meteor shower will happen on a specific night?


Quick Answer

Consulting a reputable meteor shower forecast chart is the best way to find out whether a meteor shower occurs on a specific night. Meteor shower forecast charts are found in almanacs and on meteor shower web portals, such as the sites of the American Meteor Society and EarthSky.

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Full Answer

Periodic meteor showers occur at set times each year. The Quadrantids meteor showers occur in early January of each year. The Lyrids showers occur mid-to-late April. The Eta Aquarids occur in early May. The Delta Aquarids occur in late July.

There are meteor showers all throughout the year, but the exact dates of their occurrence vary from year to year. The most spectacular meteor showers in the northern hemisphere occur in November and are called meteor storms. Meteor storms are caused by young meteor streams coming loose from the tails of comets. As the Earth’s orbit intersects these meteor streams, large numbers of meteors are pulled in by the Earth’s gravitational field and fall through the atmosphere. These meteors burn up upon reentry, causing streaks of light across the sky. The Andromedid and Leonid streams are the two most notable streams that produce the November meteor storms. The high relative velocity of Leonid meteors make them bright and long-tailed.

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