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How to Spot All Three Meteor Showers In August

There are few better times to do some stargazing.

The skies are particularly active in August, with three separate meteor showers visible in the night sky throughout the month. Your last chance to check out one of the showers will be August 15, a date that luckily happens to have a waning crescent moon that will make spotting meteors easy.

Meteor showers occur when debris passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, burning up and creating a bright streak across the sky. Each meteor shower is named for the constellation with a bright star nearest to their radiant, the point from which their meteors appear to emanate from.

Here’s what you need to know about the three meteor showers visible from the northern hemisphere this weekend.

Southern delta Aquariids

Alas, as its name suggests this particular shower is best seen from the Southern Hemisphere, but you can still catch some meteors from the northern half of the planet. It’s been active since July 12, and will end on August 23. To catch a glimpse of these meteors, which are usually on the fainter side, look low in the southern sky.

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alpha Capricornids

This shower isn’t the most active, but it does offer a chance to see plenty of bright fireballs no matter which side of the equator you’re on. It began on July 3 and ends on August 15, so if you want to catch a glimpse of the fireballs you should do so tonight.

Perseids

The Perseids are active from July 17 to August 26 this year, and when we say active we mean active. At its peak, this shower can have up to 100 meteors per hour that emanate from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. It’s considered the best meteor shower of the year for both the high number of meteors and the bright streaks of light they leave on the night sky. They’re best seen from the Northern Hemisphere in the pre-dawn hours.