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Meteor Showers for 2017

Color code

Good
Fair
Poor

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 3-4

Quadrantids

Active: December 28 – January 12

Quadrantids can be seen between 11:00 p.m. until the start of dawn at 5:30 a.m. The Moon will not be present. From dark skies, up to 70 Quadrantid meteors per hour may be seen.

The meteor radiant is in the north-northwest sky, near the tail of the Big Dipper.

Viewing conditions are Good.


image of the moonPeak Night
April 21-22

Lyrids

Active: April 16 – April 26

The Lyrids can be observed between 10:00 p.m. and 3:54 a.m., the start of dawn. The Lyrid meteor radiant, near the brilliant star Vega of the constellation Lyra the Lyre, moves from the northwest horizon to directly overhead during the night. Typically, about 12 Lyrids per hour may be seen from a dark sky location. The presence of the crescent Moon after 3:57 a.m. will offer no interference to observers.

Viewing conditions are Good.


image of the moonPeak Nights
May 4-5, 5-6

Eta Aquariids

Active: April 19 – May 28

Eta Aquariid meteors can be seen between moonset and dawn–from 3:19 a.m. to 4:37 a.m. on the 5th, and from 3:54 a.m. to 4:36 a.m. on the 6th. The meteor’s radiant is near the “water jar” of Aquarius the Water Bearer, and is located above the southeast horizon. Up to 20 meteors per hour might be seen under ideal conditions. The shower is produced by material shed from the famous comet Halley.

Viewing conditions are Good.


image of the moonPeak Night
July 28-29

South Delta Aquariids

Active: July 21 - August 23

The best viewing time is between moonset, at 11:37 p.m., and dawn, at 4:24 a.m. From a dark site, about 11 meteors per hour can be seen.

The shower’s radiant is in Aquarius the Water Bearer, located to the south.

Viewing conditions are Good.


image of the moonPeak Night
August 11-12

Perseids

Active: July 17 – August 24

Viewing the Perseid shower is hindered when the waning gibbous Moon rises 10:22 p.m. Even from wilderness locations free from artificial light pollution, the moonlight may keep the numbers of meteors to no more than 25 per hour. The shower ends with the start of dawn, at 4:40 a.m.

Viewing conditions are Poor.


image of the moonPeak Night
October 7-8

Draconids

Active: October 6–8

No activity is expected from the early-evening Draconid shower this year.

Viewing conditions are Poor.


image of the moonPeak Night
October 20-21

Orionids

Active: October 2 - November 7

Orionid meteors gradually increase in strength to about 20 meteors per hour between 11:00 p.m. and 5:15 a.m., when dawn starts. The Moon will not interfere. The meteors seem to stream from the upper left corner of the constellation Orion the Hunter. As is the case with the May Aquariids, the Orionids are also produced by particles shed from comet Halley.

Viewing conditions are Good.


image of the moonPeak Night
November 16-17

Leonids

Active: November 6-30

The Moon rises after dawn starts and will not interfere with viewing the Leonid shower. Meteor forecasters, however, expect the Leonids to be weak this year. Between midnight and 5:01 a.m., the start of dawn, the meteors are expected to gradually increase in numbers to about 10 per hour from dark sky locations.

Viewing conditions are Good.


image of the moonPeak Night
December 13-14

Geminids

Active: December 4-17

Geminid meteors can be seen from 7:00 p.m. until dawn, at 5:21 a.m. The shower should be at its peak rate of up to 120 meteors per hour at 2:00 a.m. That is when the shower radiant, near Gemini the Twins, is directly overhead. The Moon will not significantly interfere when it rises at 3:29 a.m. After 11:00 p.m., bright Geminids are even visible from suburban locations.

Viewing conditions are Good.