Sky at Night
Find out what to see in the night sky this month. What meteor showers are active now? Are there any comets to see? When is the next planetary conjunction?, Is there a solar or lunar eclipse soon?
The Alpha Capricornids are active from July 11 through August with a "plateau-like" maximum centered on July 29. This shower is not very strong and rarely produces in excess of five shower members per hour. What is notable about this shower is the number of bright fireballs produced during its activity period.
Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower is another strong shower best seen from the southern tropics. North of the equator the radiant is located lower in the southern sky and therefore rates are less than seen from further south.
The Eta Aquariids are a strong shower when viewed from the southern tropics. From the equator Northward, they usually only produce medium rates of 10-30 per hour just before dawn. Activity is good for a week centered the night of maximum activity.
The Quadrantid Meteor Shower have the potential to be the strongest shower of the year but are usually marred by poor January weather and the short length of maximum activity of 6 hours.
Comet ISON is already visible through binoculars but it is set to get even brighter over the coming weeks as it makes its approach to the Sun. Here are a few pointers to observe the Comet of the Century.
The winter nights sparkle with some of the best celestial objects to observe from the northern hemisphere. By the end of December, the winter constellations are high in the southern sky at around 11 pm.
The annual Taurid meteor shower gets underway with a peak around 12th of November. Expect an average zenithal hourly rate of seven meteors per hour.
Comet ISON can now be seen with fairly modest equipment and should improve throughout October as it approaches the Sun, and throughout October ISON makes a close pass with Mars.