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Meteor Showers for 2016

Color code


This table is intended as an aid to meteor watchers in southern California. Meteors are best observed from dark wilderness locations, far from city lights. The glow from light-pollution in most cities and suburbs allows only a few bright meteors to be seen. The brightness of the Moon must also be taken into account, as it can have a large effect on the number of meteors that will be visible. Some meteor showers have a very brief peak, lasting only a few hours, and sometimes the peak occurs at a time when the shower is not visible from southern California. These factors have been taken into account on the table below, and each meteor shower is tagged with a color code; green means excellent conditions, orange indicates the presence of some moonlight or marginal predictions, and red means most of the meteors will be blocked by moonlight or some other time factor. The estimates of numbers of meteors per hour are based on viewing from a dark sky location in southern California.

The best way to watch a meteor shower is to travel to a wilderness area or campground that has a dark sky. It’s best to choose a night when the Moon is not visible during the shower. Most meteor showers are strongest after midnight and until dawn. Dress warmly and lie back on a deck chair or lounge, so you are looking up at the sky. Don’t look at bright lights like flashlights or cell phone displays which can desensitize your eyes for ten minutes or more.

Because Griffith Observatory is surrounded by urban light glow, Griffith Park and the Observatory are not recommended as meteor shower observing locations, and are not open after normal closing time (10:00 p.m.).

image of the moonPeak Night
January 3-4


Active: December 28 – January 12

Quadrantids can be observedstarting at 11:00 p.m. From a dark wilderness site,the rate ofQuadrantid meteors is expected to peak at about 45 meteors per hour by the time the moon rises at 1:53 a.m. and remain at about that level until the start of dawn, at 5:30 a.m.

Quadrantid meteors seem to come from a point near the tail of the Big Dipper, in the north-northwest sky.

Viewing conditions are Fair.

image of the moonPeak Night
April 21-22


Active: April 16 – April 26

This year, April’s full moon ruins the normally modest peak of the Lyrid meteor shower.

Viewing conditions are Poor.

image of the moonPeak Night
May 4-5

Eta Aquariids

Active: April 19 – May 28

The numbers of meteors increase to 10 per hourthroughout the observing period, from 3:00 a.m. until dawn starts at 4:25 a.m., PDT. The maximum meteor rate of meteors rate changes little between the 3rd and 6th.

Eta Aquariids are particles shed by comet 1P/Halley.

Viewing conditions are Good.

image of the moonPeak Night
July 26-27

South Delta Aquariids

Active: July 21 - August 23

South delta Aquariid meteors are visible all night and are strongest in the early morning. Moonrise at 12:36 a.m.,PDT will keep their numbers from exceeding about 11 per hour.

Viewing conditions are Fair.

image of the moonPeak Night
August 11-12


Active: July 17 – August 24

The best time for watching the Persieds runs from moonset, at 1:07 a.m., until dawn, at 4:40 a.m. From a dark, unobscured observing site, up 80 or more meteors per hours may be seen.

Viewing conditions are Good.

image of the moonPeak Night
October 7-8


Active: October 6–8

Moonlight will reduce visibility of what is expected to be a weak showing of the Draconid meteors this year.

Viewing conditions are Poor.

image of the moonPeak Night
October 20-21


Active: October 2 - November 7

Visible from 11:00 p.m. through 5:40 a.m. but spoiled by bright moonlight.Orionid meteors are particles shed by comet 1P/Halley, and hit our atmosphere at 41 miles (66 kilometers) per second.

Viewing conditions are Poor.

image of the moonPeak Night
November 15-17


Active: November 6-30

Bright moonlight spoils both mornings ofthe maximum of the Leonid shower this year. Leonids arenormally observed to increase in strengthfrom midnight until the start of dawn, at 5:00 a.m.

Viewing conditions are Poor.

image of the moonPeak Night
December 13-14


Active: December 4-17

Visible from 7 p.m. until dawn (5:21 a.m.),strongest at 1:50 a.m. The full moon hampers viewing all night.Because of their low speed and brilliance,the Geminid meteor shower is one of the few meteor showers worth watching, despite reduced numbers, from suburban conditions and in spite of the moonlight.

Viewing conditions are Poor.