Your 2011 Meteor Shower Schedule

Geminid meteor by Flickr user evosia

I love meteor showers, and yet, they always sneak up on me. Other than the Perseids in August and Leonids in November (both near family members’ birthdays), I can never seem to remember when they happen. Case in point: Today, “Bad Astronomer” Phil Plait tweeted about the Quadrantids peaking tonight. Of course, I had forgotten about them.

To prevent this from happening again, I thought I’d offer up a calendar of annually reoccurring meteor showers with a link to more information on meteorshowersonline.com.

If you’re a meteor lover, too, you’ll want to try to get out for the Quadrantids. Most of this year’s other predictably good shows will be washed out by bright moons.

January 1-10: Quadrantids, as mentioned above. Potentially the most visible shower this year and peaking today and tomorrow.

April 16-26: The Lyrids are not a strong shower, and this year they will be accompanied at the peak by a gibbous moon April 21-22.

April 21-May 12: The Eta Aquarids, peaking May 4-7, and the Orionids (see October) are all we get to see of Halley’s comet until 2061. This one is good for our friends in the southern hemisphere.

June 10-21: The June Lyrids, unlike many meteor showers that have been known throughout recorded history, weren’t really noticed until 1966. They will peak June 14-16.

July 14-August 18: The Delta Aquarids peak July 28-29. Like the Eta Aquarids, this one’s good if you live below the equator.

July 29-August 1: The Capricornids last quite a while, from July to September. The peak is towards the end of July and beginning of August.

July 23-August 22: The Perseids are a favorite for many and maybe the most well-known. They’re a consistent show-off, but this year they’re accompanied by a full moon at the August 12-13 peak, which will wash out the usually good show.

September 25-November 25: The South Taurids offer a slow stream, peaking November 5-6. Combined with a gibbous moon, and this one is for hard-core meteor hunters only.

October 6-10: The Draconids are not for those in the southern hemisphere, as your only viewing chance is around dawn. But for those above the equator, they’ll peak October 8-9.

October 12-December 2: Like the South Taurids, the North Taurids aren’t high in number, and there’s a gibbous moon in front of Taurus at peak. If you want to try anyway, peak is Nov. 11-12.

October 15-29: The Orionids are your second chance to look at a bit of Halley’s Comet, peaking October 21-22. And since Orion is pretty easy to spot in the night sky, you know where to look for the point of origin.

November 17-18: The Leonids are popular like the Perseids, but not as consistently great for viewing. There will be a crescent moon in Leo at peak, making this a lesser year for viewing.

December 6-18: The Geminids, which were put on an excellent show in 2010. Peak will be around December 13-14, but with another gibbous moon.

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By day, Ruth works to make open source software communities better. The rest of the time, she makes things, which means her husband and kids know to watch out for stray sewing pins and to ask before eating anything made of fondant.