CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Right now, there are three active meteor showers. Their peak viewing times are approaching in the next few weeks, and they are, conveniently, all going to be on Saturday and Sunday.
For best meteor shower viewing, it’s best to be in an area with little or no light pollution. Some of the best places for star gazing in West Virginia include Pocahontas County, Calhoun County and West Virginia’s three official Dark Sky Parks.
According to NASA, the Perseid Meteor Shower is the best one happening this year, and viewers can see up to 100 meteors per hour. The shower became visible in the northern hemisphere July 14 and will be around until Sept. 1.
If you want to see the Perseids at its peak, plan a night of stargazing for Aug. 12 or 13, according to NASA. For best viewing, NASA says to look during the pre-dawn hours, although meteors and fireballs could be visible as early as 10 p.m. The meteors will originate near the Perseid constellation and the and the more easily-found constellation Cassiopeia.
2023 is expected to be a good year for the Perseids because the moon will only be at 10%, meaning the sky will be darker and more meteors will be visible.
The Delta Aquariids are not usually as impressive as the Perseids, but without a noticeable peak, you have a longer window for possibly seeing meteors from this shower. According to the American Meteor Society, the shower will be visible primarily in the southern tropics between July 18 and Aug. 21, with an estimated peak around Sunday, July 30. The northern hemisphere is less likely to see the Delta Aquariids than the southern, so it is not the best for viewing in places like West Virginia.
July 30 is also a full moon, making 2023 less favorable for seeing the Delta Aquariids. Those who want to look for them should look toward the Delta Aquarii constellation from around 2 a.m. to dawn.
If you want a double change to see more fireballs, July 30 might be your night, because in addition to the Delta Aquariids, the Alpha Capricornids are also expected to peak that night in 2023. The Alpha Capricornids are visible from July 7 to Aug. 15 but are considered much weaker than the other showers listed above, with only about five meteors visible per hour, but according to the AMS, the shower can have some pretty impressive fireballs in lower quantities.
The shower can also be seen equally as well in the northern and southern hemispheres.