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Meteor Showers for 2020

Color code

Good
Fair
Poor

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

Quadrantids

Active: December 28 – January 12

When can it be observed?: From 11:00 p.m. until dawn (5:30 a.m.)
Approximate peak hour: 2:00-3:00 a.m.
Expected dark sky rate: 60 meteors per hour.

Quadrantids likely are particles from the extinct comet 2003 EH1. They hit our atmosphere with a velocity of 25 miles (41 kilometers) per second.

Notes: Observing conditions best after 1:59 a.m., when the moon sets.

Good viewing conditions


image of the moonPeak Night
April 21/22

Lyrids

Active: April 16 – April 26

When can it be observed?: 10:00 p.m. to 4:43 a.m. (dawn).
Approximate peak hour: 3:45-4:45 a.m.
Expected dark sky rate: 18 meteors per hour.

Notes: Lyrids are particles shed by the comet C/1861 G (Thatcher). They hit our atmosphere at 27 miles (43 kilometers) per second.

Good viewing conditions


image of the moonPeak Night
May 4/5

Eta Aquariids

Active: April 19 – May 28

When can it be observed?: 3:00 a.m. until dawn ( 4:25 a.m.)
Approximate peak hour: 3:30-4:30 a.m.
Expected dark sky rate: 20 meteors per hour.

Eta Aquariids are particles shed by comet 1P/Halley. They hit our atmosphere at 41 miles (66 kilometers) per second.

Notes: Bright moonlight will interfere with observing and will greatly reduce the number of meteors that can be seen.

Poor viewing conditions


image of the moonPeak Night
July 29/30

South Delta Aquariids

Active: July 21 – August 23

When can it be observed?: 10:00 p.m. to 4:27 a.m.
Approximate peak hour: 2:15-3:15 a.m.
Expected dark sky rate: 10 meteors per hour.

South Delta Aquariid meteors may be produced by particles shed by a sungrazing comet. They strike our atmosphere at 25 miles (41 kilometers) per second.

Notes: Conditions for observation are best between moonset (2:11 a.m.) and dawn (4:27 a.m.)

Good viewing conditions


image of the moonPeak Night
August 11/12

Perseids

Active: July 17 – August 24

When can it be observed?: 10:00 p.m.-4:40 a.m.
Approximate peak hour: 3:40-4:40 a.m.
Expected dark sky rate: 95 meteors per hour.

Perseids are particles shed by comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. They hit our atmosphere at 37 miles (59 kilometers) per second.

Notes: Moon interferes with observations after it rises at 12:22 a.m. As a result, fainter meteors will not be seen.

Fair viewing conditions


image of the moonPeak Night
October 20/21

Orionids

Active: October 2 – November 7

When can it be observed?: 11:30 p.m.-5:40 a.m.
Approximate peak hour: 4:40-5:40 a.m.
Expected dark sky rate: 20 meteors per hour.

Orionids are particles shed by comet 1P/Halley, and hit our atmosphere at 41 miles (66 kilometers) per second.

Notes: Moon sets at 10:32 p.m. and does not interfere with meteor observation.

Good viewing conditions


image of the moonPeak Night
November 16/17

Leonids

Active: November 6 – 30

When can it be observed?: 11:30 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
Approximate peak hour: 4:00-5:00 a.m.
Expected dark sky rate: 10 meteors per hour.

Leonid meteors are particles shed by comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. They hit our atmosphere at a rapid 44 miles (71 kilometers) per second.

Notes: Moon sets at 6:21 p.m., PST and does not interfere with meteor observations.

Good viewing conditions


image of the moonPeak Night
December 13/14

Geminids

Active: December 4 – 17

When can it be observed?: 8:00 p.m.-5:22 a.m.
Approximate peak hour: 1:14-2:14 a.m.
Expected dark sky rate: 150 meteors per hour.

Geminids are particles shed by asteroid 3200 Phaeton, likely a “rock comet.” The particles hit our atmosphere at 22 miles (35 kilometers) per second.

Notes: The Geminids are predicted to be the strongest shower of the year The moon is nearly new moon and will not interfere with observing.

Good viewing conditions