How To Watch This Week's Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower In Australia

Australian Meteor Shower AustraliaImage: iStock

At approximately 12am tonight, the Delta Aquarid meteor shower will begin to light up the Australian skies. The celestial event will be visible with the naked eye thanks to mostly clear skies across the continent. Here's what you need to know.

What is the Southern Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower?

The Southern Delta Aquariids are a meteor shower that originated from the breakup of what are now the Marsden and Kracht Sungrazing comets. They are visible from July 12 to mid August each year with peak activity in late July. Tonight is your best chance to view the meteors in their full splendor. They basically look like shooting stars, but with a much higher observation rate of 15–20 per hour.

The Delta Aquariids will be visible across most of the world. However, the Antipodes are particularly well situated to view the shower as the radiant is higher in the sky during the peak season. Hurrah for Australia and New Zealand!

How can I watch the Southern Delta Aquariids?

The Delta Aquariid shower is best viewed after midnight and before dawn. As with any celestial event, it's best to be somewhere dark away from artificial lights. In other words, city slickers might need to head out to the nearest national park for a clearer view.

The meteors will appear to be coming from the constellation Aquarius to the south, hence the name. Most stargazers recommend lying down during the viewing so you can focus on a patch of sky and not crane your neck.

Do I need any special equipment?

No. The showers, which resemble shooting stars, are perfectly visible with the naked eye. If you're planning to take some photos, you'll want to bring a tripod and set ISO to at least 1600 and use continuous shot/burst mode.

Is tonight my only chance to view the shower?

No. If you don't get a chance to catch the Delta Aquarid showers tonight, they will remain visible through to August 23 so be sure to mark a day in your calendar.


    More tips:

    Find somewhere at least 10km from any town with a good view of sky and a bad view of lights.
    Close your eyes for 10 minutes, then look only at the darkest part of the sky in the right general direction.

    You'll be lying in pitch dark for hours, you'll want:
    -An interesting friend.
    -A little cider.
    -A warm blanket.
    -Something to lie on.

    Last edited 27/07/16 1:43 pm

      A condom?

      -An interesting friend.
      -Something to lie on.

      You seemed to repeat yourself there.

    Soooo are we talking Eastern states times or Western states times in this article? It talks about "yay A&NZ" so is it better viewed from the east or does the west get a good view also?

      I don't think it matters at all whether you're east or west.
      The meteors will come streaming in all day and all night, it's merely best after midnight because it's darkest. :)

    It was cloudy in Melbourne last night, but whilst driving home, I did see what appeared to be sheet lightning in the clouds ahead. Just a momentary flash behind the clouds. Checked the weather radar (which was clear) and was confused until I remembered this meteor shower was due.

    Must have been a good one for those that had line of sight!

      I was driving from Falls Creek to Albury around 7:30pm and had a clear view of a meteor burning up...pretty bright!

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