Chance to see fireballs this week as two meteor showers peak

The Delta Aquariids and Alpha Capricornids peak

2 meteor showers to peak at same time

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Comet NEOWISE has faded fast, and will very soon not be visible at all. Don’t let that get you down, though! We’ve got two meteor showers set to peak this week as we round out the month of July.

The Delta Aquariids and Alpha Capricornids both peak Tuesday night, meaning they will be sharing the night sky.

Two meteor showers peak Tuesday night -- the Alpha Capricornids and Delta Aquariids.
Two meteor showers peak Tuesday night -- the Alpha Capricornids and Delta Aquariids. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

While they may not be the most well-known or impressive meteor showers out there, the potential for a memorable night is there. For starters, it’s very rare to have two meteor showers peak at the same exact time. Secondly, the moon will set between midnight and 1 a.m. Tuesday night. That means moonlight pollution will not be an issue if you can head out late Tuesday night.

According to the American Meteor Society, the Delta Aquariids are considered a strong meteor shower only for those viewing in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rate of meteors is lower around 10-20 per hour at best.

The Delta Aquariids peak Tuesday night, producing upwards of 20 meteors per hour, especially in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Delta Aquariids peak Tuesday night, producing upwards of 20 meteors per hour, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

The meteors radiate from low on the southern horizon, but can be seen across the night sky. It’s important to point out that this particular shower typically only produces faint meteors that lack fireballs and vibrant tails.

Despite this, it is still worth checking out because the peak of the Delta Aquariids will be joined by the peak of the Alpha Capricornids.

The Alpha Capricornids peak Tuesday night, producing a very low number of meteors per hour, but it is notorious for producing fireballs.
The Alpha Capricornids peak Tuesday night, producing a very low number of meteors per hour, but it is notorious for producing fireballs. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Those Alpha Capricornids will be visible across the night sky; they are not hemisphere-dependent. However, you won’t see meteor after meteor with this shower, so don’t expect an incredible show.

The American Meteor Society points out that there are usually less than five shooting stars per hour with them. So why even bother venturing out to check it out? Well, they are known for producing bright fireballs. Fireball meteors are those very bright and vibrant shooting stars that are actually brighter than the planet Venus!

But none of this matters if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, right?

Unfortunately there may be quite a bit of cloud coverage Tuesday night across Central Alabama.
Unfortunately there may be quite a bit of cloud coverage Tuesday night across Central Alabama. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Rain is not likely going to ruin your viewing, but there will probably be a decent amount of cloud cover across the skies of Alabama. This could change a little, but the forecast looks less than ideal regarding cloudiness.

If you want to attempt to capture a fireball meteor, though, be sure to seek an area of high elevation away from tall structures and city lights. Once you arrive at your location, give your eyes about 20-30 minutes to adjust to the darkness and look up!

As always, if you capture any photos never hesitate to send them on in!

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