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Meteor Showers for 2014

Color code


This table is intended as an aid to meteor watchers in southern California. Meteors are best observed from dark wilderness locations, far from city lights. The glow from light-pollution in most cities and suburbs allows only a few bright meteors to be seen. The brightness of the Moon must also be taken into account, as it can have a large effect on the number of meteors that will be visible. Some meteor showers have a very brief peak, lasting only a few hours, and sometimes the peak occurs at a time when the shower is not visible from southern California. These factors have been taken into account on the table below, and each meteor shower is tagged with a color code; green means excellent conditions, orange indicates the presence of some moonlight or marginal predictions, and red means most of the meteors will be blocked by moonlight or some other time factor. The estimates of numbers of meteors per hour are based on viewing from a dark sky location in southern California.

The best way to watch a meteor shower is to travel to a wilderness area or campground that has a dark sky. It’s best to choose a night when the Moon is not visible during the shower. Most meteor showers are strongest after midnight and until dawn. Dress warmly and lie back on a deck chair or lounge, so you are looking up at the sky. Don’t look at bright lights like flashlights or cell phone displays which can desensitize your eyes for ten minutes or more.

Because Griffith Observatory is surrounded by urban light glow, Griffith Park and the Observatory are not recommended as meteor shower observing locations, and are not open after normal closing time (10:00 p.m.).

image of the moonPeak Night
January 2-3


Active: December 28 – January 12

There is a small chance that Quadrantids may be seen at a rate of about one per minute just before 5:30 a.m., when dawn starts. If they are visible, the meteors will stream from their radiant in Boötes the Herdsman, 51 degrees high in the northeast. Quadrandid meteors hit our atmosphere at 25 miles per second, and may have been shed by the small body 2003 EH1, possibly a depleted comet.

Viewing conditions are Fair.

image of the moonPeak Night
April 21-22


Active: April 16 – April 26

The last-quarter moon will hide the fainter Lyrids this year. On the peak night, the Lyrids can be watched between 10:00 p.m. and the start of dawn, at 4:42 a.m. The greatest numbers come just before dawn, when the shower radiant, near the bright star Vega of Lyra the Lyre, is nearly overhead. Because of moonlight, this may be only 10 per hour may be seen. Lyrids are particles shed from comet G/1861 Thatcher, and strike our atmosphere at 27 miles per second.

Viewing conditions are Fair.

image of the moonPeak Night
May 5-6

Eta Aquariids

Active: April 19 – May 28

The moon will not interfere with the eta Aquariid meteor shower this year. The meteors can be seen between 2:37 a.m. and dawn (4:30 a.m.). In the hour before dawn, up to 20 eta Aquariid meteors may be counted. The eta Aquariids appear to stream from the “water jar” in Aquarius the Water Carrier, located low in the east-southeast. The eta Aquariids are dusty pieces shed long ago by the famous comet 1P/Halley, which will next be visible in 2061. The particles, following the outbound part of comet Halley’s orbit, hit our atmosphere at 41 miles per second.

Viewing conditions are Good.

image of the moonPeak Night
July 29-30

South Delta Aquariids

Active: July 12 - August 23

Meteors from this shower can be seen to come from the southeastern sky after the radiant, in Aquarius the Water Carrier rises at 9:47 p.m., P.D.T. Meteor rates in dark skies may be seen to increase to about 10 per hour when the radiant point transits 40˚ above the southern horizon at 2:47 a.m. Because of the activity of several other minor meteor showers, an observer might actually see 20 meteors in one hour. This moon is absent during the hours that the shower is active, and does not interfere. The source of the south delta Aquariids is uncertain, but may be from a family of sun grazing comets. The particles hit out atmosphere at 25 miles per second.

Viewing conditions are Good.

image of the moonPeak Night
August 12-13


Active: July 15 – August 22

The brilliant gibbous moon spoils the Persied meteor shower, usually the summertime favorite. While the shower can produce more than one meteor per hour under ideal conditions, moonlight will greatly reduce the numbers of meteors visible this year. Otherwise, the shower can be seen between 9:45 p.m. and dawn (4:40 p.m.). The meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, but appear to stream from the constellation Perseus the Hero, 59 degrees high in the northeast at the start of dawn.

Viewing conditions are Poor.

image of the moonPeak Night
October 21-22


Active: October 19-27

Astronomical conditions are nearly perfect this year, as the waning crescent moon, rising close to the start of dawn, will be too faint to interfere with meteor observation. From an ideal location, free from light pollution, about 20 meteors can be seen in the hour before dawn. The meteor radiant, near the club of Orion, rises at 10:30 p.m. Orionid meteors are produced by fragments shed by comet 1P/Halley during visits to the inner solar system, centuries ago. The comet will next be visible in 2061. The fragments follow the inbound portion of the comet’s track and strike earth’s atmosphere at 41 miles per second.

Viewing conditions are Good.

image of the moonPeak Night
November 17-18


Active: November 6-30

The waning crescent moon rises at 3:00 a.m. but is not bright enough to interfere with the meteor shower. No strong activity is predicted, however, for the Leonids this year. Even from a dark, rural sky, no more than 15 Leonid meteors per hour are to be expected between midnight and dawn (5:00 a.m.). The meteors appear to stream from a radiant located in the “sickle” of Leo. The meteor shower is famous for “storms” of thousands of meteors per minute seen in 1833 and 1966, and good displays from 1999-2002 which are tied to the 33 year orbit of comet 55P/Tempel Tuttle. Gravitational action of Jupiter, however, may preclude any more strong Leonid displays for many decades. The average Leonid meteor is very swift, traveling through our atmosphere at 44 miles per second.

Viewing conditions are Good.

image of the moonPeak Night
December 13-14


Active: December 4-17

Although the last-quarter moon shines close to the shower’s radiant, in Gemini the Twins, a high percentage of the shower’s predicted 120 meteors-per-hour should be visible from regions far from urban light pollution. Because of their brilliance, however, the Geminids usually put on a good show, even from suburban areas. From the suburbs, expect up to a meteor every few minutes between 10:00 p.m. and dawn (5:30 a.m.). The meteors are usually strongest when the radiant is over head, at 1:54 a.m. Geminid meteors are particles shed by asteroid 3200 Phaeton, a strange object that appears to be a “rock comet”, an asteroid that produces comet like tails by fragmenting due to collision or rapid rotation. The particles hit our atmosphere at 22 miles per second.

Viewing conditions are Fair.