The Southern Delta Aquarids And The Alpha Capricornids Peak Tonight

Say good bye to Comet NEOWISE, but the summer night show is not over.
Many have already seen some of the precursors of tonight’s show. There have been few fireballs or earth-grazers this week. The rates for the showers right now are about one meteor per hour. Just go out and look up after midnight, or just after full dark, and you will see an occasional meteor or shooting star.
All summer long.

Perseid Meteor
Perseid Meteor taken with a phone .. Chip Thompson. 2016

The southern Delta Aquarids and the Alpha Capricornids are the first shower we have seen since the Eta Aquarids in early May. Tonight after midnight into the dawn hours we should see a peak of twenty to twenty-five meteors per hour. Clouds could be an issue for the east coast tonight but it is always worth checking.

The winter is the best time to view meteor showers, but it is always so cold. These summer showers are much more comfortable. Especially if you go out on the beach to watch. In the winter the sky is clearer from lack of the summer haze.

Fireball caught by a police cruiser’s dash cam in New Jersey in 2017

The South delta Aquariids, active around July 21st, reach maximum activity on July 28th this year. The radiant lies in the blank space between the constellations of Capricornus and Aquarius. These are more faint meteors and will appear like medium fast bright thin streaks.

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The Alpha Capricornid’s produces the fireballs and they increase as we get closer to the peak period. The radiant lies east in Sagittarius, just north of the double star alpha Capricorni. A few have been seen already.

Southern Delta Aquarids, Alpha Capricornids, Star Tracker App, delaware, sussex county
Southern Delta Aquarids And The Alpha Capricornids on the Star Tracker App

Use the Star Tracker app to find the radiant’s exact location and then put the phone away. It will take many minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Constantly looking at your phone will inhibit seeing the fainter shooting stars. These happen in the blink of an eye.

Shooting the shooting starts will be tonight’s mission. Just point the camera at the radiant area, and keep clicking, sometimes you can capture a shooting star, maybe get lucky and nail a fireball or earthgrazer.

My first shooting star capture, not the best but I am happy with it and will hunt for more.

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