It’s a good time to be in the Southern hemisphere!
From midnight, the Delta Aquarid meteor showers will be at their peak, sending shooting stars across the skies of Australia and New Zealand.
Every year, the Delta Aquarid meteor showers are visible during the last days in July and early August. The best viewing hours will be before dawn.
Delta Aquarid meteor shower, taken in 1994 [Image: John Chumack]
Most people around the world can see the showers, but they will be most bright in the Southern hemisphere.
They’re best seen with the naked eye in a dark, rural area away from city lights. Somewhere like Australia’s first Dark Sky Park, the Warrumbungles National Park, would be perfect.
Since meteors will be streaking across the overhead skies, lie down on a blanket or recline in a lawn chair and allow your eyes to become adapted to the darkness.
The origins of the showers are clouded in mystery. While astronomers have theorised that it’s caused by Earth passing by Comet 96P Machholz and picking up debris, that’s yet to be proven.
Comet 96P Machholz, suspected to be the “parent” of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower, was discovered on 12 May 1986 – but the meteor shower itself was first spotted in the 1800s [Image: Creative Commons]