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Friday, January 30, 2015

Earthsky Tonight—July 28, Moonlight wipes out Delta Aquarid meteor shower

Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science

The annual Delta Aquarid meteor shower is expected to peak before dawn on Thursday, July 29. Not that it really matters in 2010. The almost-full waning gibbous moon will wipe out this year’s Delta Aquarid display. You would be much better off to wait for the Perseid shower, which should be at its best on the moon-free nights of August 12 and August 13.

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2010

Even in a favorable year, the Delta Aquarids are a modest shower, offering perhaps 15 to 20 meteors per hour. If you trace the paths of these Delta Aquarid meteors backward, they all appear to originate from a certain spot in the sky. This point is called the meteor shower radiant. It nearly aligns with the star Delta Aquarii (Skat) in the constellation Aquarius – hence, the meteor shower’s name.

Unfortunately, the bright moon will be shining right in front of Aquarius, not only wiping out meteors but probably the rather dim star Delta Aquarii to boot. The sky chart shows tomorrow’s predawn sky as seen from mid-temperate North American latitudes.

You will not see many – if any – meteors. However, given clear skies, you will certainly see the moon and the blazing planet Jupiter, and likely the bright star Fomalhaut, too!

Written by Bruce McClure

Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL

CHANDRA Photo Album

U.S. Naval Observator Astronomical Information center

StarDate Online

Sky and Telescope

National Geographic

Space Com

Amazing Space

The York County Astronomical Society

Scope City

James S McDonnell Planetarium

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