The next meteor shower is the Orionids on October 21, 2008.
Name Date of Peak Moon Phase
Quadrantids January 4, morning Crescent, rises 4-5 a.m.
Lyrids night of April 21/22 almost Full
Eta Aquarids May 5, morning/evening New Moon
Perseids August 12, morning Sets around 2 a.m.
Orionids October 21, morning Rises around 1 a.m.
Leonids November 17, morning Rises late evening
Geminids December 13, evening Full Moon
NOTES These are approximate times for the Lower 48 states; actual shower times can vary. Bright moonlight makes it difficult to see all but the brightest meteors.
What are meteor showers?
An increase in the number of meteors at a particular time of year is called a meteor shower.
Comets shed the debris that becomes most meteor showers. As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet's orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower. Depending on where Earth and the stream meet, meteors appear to fall from a particular place in the sky, maybe within the neighborhood of a constellation.
Meteor showers are named by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall, a spot in the sky astronomers call the radiant. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is located in the constellation Leo. The Perseid meteor shower is so named because meteors appear to fall from a point in the constellation Perseus.
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