Delta Aquariid meteor shower 2024: All you need to know

The Delta Aquariid meteor shower will start on July 12 and end on August 19 in 2024. The predicted peak of Delta Aquariids will fall on July 29, 2024 at 11:31 UTC.

It is the second most active meteor shower in the Southern Hemisphere after the Eta Aquariids in May.

The shower usually produces up to 28 meteors per hour during peak activity under clear, dark skies.

2024 will be a good year to see Delta Aquariids as the thin waning crescent moon will rise in the pre-dawn hours. So you will get an almost moonless night to observe Delta Aquariids during the peak activity.

Makrem Larnaout captured the Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower in late July 2022 near the ancient Berber village of Zriba El Alia in Tunisia (full)
Makrem Larnaout captured the Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower in late July 2022 near the ancient Berber village of Zriba El Alia in Tunisia. This composite image was taken over two days. (Image credit: Makrem Larnaout/APOD)

Duration of peak activity

Unlike the Quadrantids in January or the Lyrids in April, there is no sharp peak of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower.

The peak activity of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower can last up to about four days, centered on the predicted peak, making it easier to observe.

When to see the Delta Aquariid meteor shower in 2024

Wee hours (at around 2 to 3 a.m. local time) of July 29 and 30 is the best time to see the Delta Aquariid meteor shower in 2024.

The point from where the Delta Aquariid meteor shower radiates in the sky, called the shower’s radiant, rises in the late evening, reaches its highest point in the sky after midnight and then its altitude gradually decreases until it sets in the morning.

The radiant of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower climbs a decent height above the horizon around midnight, so I will suggest you start watching Delta Aquariids (Delta Aquariid meteors) from midnight and continue it till dawn.

Please remember, you won’t see Delta Aquariid meteor shower in the early evening as the shower’s radiant is located below the horizon in the early evening.

Where to look to see the Delta Aquariid meteor shower

The Delta Aquariid meteor shower radiates from the proximity of the bright star Fomalhaut. Look low in the southern sky in the wee hours to spot bright Fomalhaut.

Fomalhaut is the brightest star in the constellation Piscis Austrinus, the Southern Fish and the 18th brightest star in the night sky.

The loneliest Fomalhaut is easily noticeable in the southern sky, even in light-polluted areas and the radiant of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower is located slightly above the bright Fomalhaut.

However, I will suggest you don’t look at the bright star Fomalhaut only to see the Delta Aquariid meteor shower, as the meteors closer to the radiant have shorter trails and are difficult to observe. So move your gaze across the entire southern sky.

Visibility of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower

Like the Eta Aquariids in May, the Delta Aquariid meteor shower is most favorable to observers in the Southern Hemisphere, especially those located in the low-southern latitudes (from 5°S to 25°S).

Observers located in the low-southern latitudes will get the best view of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower, where the radiant reaches almost overhead in the sky (more than 80° altitude) at 2 a.m. local time.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the further north you go, the fewer Delta Aquariid meteors you will see. So the observers located in the low- and mid-northern latitudes will see a moderate to low display of this shower.

Anyone living farther north than 45°N – Bordeaux, Minneapolis, Toronto, Montreal – will struggle to observe the Delta Aquariid meteor shower, where the radiant never rises much above the horizon.  

How the Delta Aquariid meteor shower got its name

Meteor showers are usually named after a constellation in which the radiant lies during peak activity or after a bright star closest to the radiant.

The Delta Aquariid meteor shower got its name after the bright star delta Aquarii in the constellation Aquarius, as the radiant of the shower is located very close to delta Aquarii during peak activity.

How to observe the Delta Aquariid meteor shower

You don’t need any special equipment, such as a pair of binoculars or a telescope, to see the Delta Aquariid meteor shower. A meteor shower is best seen with the naked eye.

Find a safe, dark place away from city lights where a large portion of the sky is visible. Lie down or sit on a lawn chair and look at the sky along the middle of the horizon and zenith, facing roughly south. 

It will take around 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, and don’t look at your cell phone as the bright light from its screen will interrupt your night vision.

Be patient, as the celestial show of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower will be visible until dawn.

As the night progresses you will see more Delta Aquariid meteors and will reach its maximum value at around 2 a.m. local time.

References

Atlas of Meteor Showers – A Practical Workbook for Meteor Observers

Please bookmark Spaceandtelescope.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get latest space news, upcoming skywatching events and astronomy-related content.

Photo of author

About the Author

Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

Related Articles

Position of the three planets, Mercury, Mars, and Saturn, in the eastern sky preceding sunrise in May 2024

Visible planets May 2024: What planets are visible tonight?

FacebookTweetPinShares What planets are visible tonight? Mercury is visible near the horizon in the eastern ...

Phases of Mercury and Venus

Mercury phases 2024: What is the phase of Mercury today?

FacebookTweetPinShares What is the phase of Mercury today? Today, on May 22, 2024, Mercury is ...

Moon phases for today and the rest of May 2024

Moon phases May 2024: What is the moon phase today?

FacebookTweetPinShares What is the moon phase today? Today, on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, the moon ...

Antoni Cladera captured Geminid meteors on December 14, 2015, in Spain

Meteor showers 2024: When is the next meteor shower?

FacebookTweetPinShares Know when is the next meteor shower in 2024: June 2024: The June Bootids ...

Leave a Comment