Stargazers have already enjoyed the Delta Aquariids in July 2022, but other phenomena are about to grace our skies in 2022.
The Perseid meteor shower will peak between August 12 and 13 in 2022, allowing stargazers to see about 160 to 200 meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere every hour.
The shower is especially prominent in the Northern Hemisphere, in the early morning hours, and is one of the most popular showers, if not the strongest, spectators can enjoy it in the summer.
At its peak, the Perseids sparkle in the summer sky as Earth collides with debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle Comet.
The shower gets its name from the Greek word Perseidai, which means the sons of Perseus in Greek mythology, which refers to the point at which they appear to greet.
Unfortunately, the peak falls around the time of the Full Moon in 2022, so lighting conditions are expected to be particularly poor.
It is recommended that those who plan to watch the storm start around midnight to 5:30 am, to increase the chances of spotting the meteors, because the darker the sky, the better, when watching meteors.
But don’t worry if you miss the storm that time, there are plenty of other opportunities to see the sky full of streaks of light.
Here, we’ve put together a complete guide to when, where, and how to see all the 2022 meteor showers.
What exactly is a meteor shower?
A meteor shower occurs when Earth passes through the debris flow that occupies the orbit of a comet or, in simpler terms, when a number of meteors flash across the sky from about the same point.
Meteors are sometimes referred to as shooting stars, although they actually have nothing to do with stars.
Perspective makes meteor showers appear to come from a single point in the sky known as the radiant rain. The typical meteor is the result of a particle — the size of a grain of sand — evaporating into Earth’s atmosphere when it enters at a speed of 134,000 mph.
Anything larger than a grape will produce a fireball, often accompanied by a lingering afterglow known as a meteor train. This is a column of ionized gas that slowly disappears from view as it loses energy.
Meteor, meteoroid or meteorite?
A meteor is a meteoroid — or a particle broken off from an asteroid or comet orbiting the sun — that burns up as it enters Earth’s atmosphere, creating a “shooting star.”
Meteoroids that reach the Earth’s surface without disintegrating are called meteorites.
Meteors are usually pieces of comet dust and ice no bigger than a grain of rice. Meteorites are mainly rocks broken off from asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and weigh as much as 60 tons.
They can be “stony”, consisting of minerals rich in silicon and oxygen, “iron”, consisting mainly of iron and nickel, or “stony iron”, a combination of both.
Scientists think about 1,000 tons to more than 10,000 tons of meteor material fall to Earth every day, but they’re mostly dust-like grains, according to NASA, and they pose no threat to Earth.
There are only two recorded incidents of injury caused by a meteorite. In one of these cases, a woman was bruised by a meteorite weighing eight pounds after it fell through her roof in 1954.
Meteor showers in 2022
Draconids Meteor Shower
Also known as the Giacobinids, the Draconids belong to the periodic comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner and are best seen in the Northern Hemisphere (although it is still possible to see them in the Southern Hemisphere).
The shower is usually less active than others and is known as a sleeper. It is uncommon to see more than five meteors per hour. However, the unpredictable nature of the Draconid was seen in both 1933 and 1946, when stargazers were able to admire thousands of meteors in just one hour.
In 2022, the shower will peak between October 8 and 9, but adverse weather conditions, including cloud cover and fog, have often overshadowed the view for onlookers in previous years.