Alpha Capricornids meteor shower 2022: When will it peak and how to watch the celestial spectacle
With July ending, stargazers might not want to miss the opportunity of two meteor showers lighting up the skies over the weekend. The Delta Aquariids meteor shower is expected to peak Friday night into Saturday morning. Alpha Capricornids is another meteor shower that people can enjoy on the same weekend.
According to the American Meteor Society, Alpha Capricornids might not be as strong as the Delta Aquariids but they will surely be visible without any special equipment. On a similar note, the Perseid meteor shower made headlines after NASA dubbed it the "greatest meteor shower of the year.” It began on July 17 but will not peak until August 13. Quadrantid meteor shower and Geminids meteor shower were seen in 2021 and 2020 respectively. Speaking of Alpha Capricornids, they are called so because they seem to come from the constellation of Capricorn. However, to be clear, they are actually caused by Earth crashing into debris left behind by the comet 169P/NEAT.
When and where to watch Lyrid meteor shower: Experts expect 15 to 18 meteors per hour
What is Alpha Capricornids?
Alpha Capricornids meteor shower is surely one of the highlights this year. If you are wondering what are Alpha Capricornids, the meteor showers are produced when the debris of comet 169P/NEAT burns up in our atmosphere. The comet leaves a trail of debris when it orbits the sun, as reported by UK Meteor Network.
Interestingly, Alpha Capricornids produce only five meteors per hour during its peak time. They can be spotted easily as they are usually very bright and they can often become a fireball. Wikipedia states that according to Jenniskens and Vaubaillon, the meteor shower was created about 3,500 to 5,000 years ago when about half of the parent body disintegrated and fell into dust.
When can you see Alpha Capricornids meteor shower?
You are in for luck as Alpha Capricornids meteor shower is currently active. According to the American Meteor Society, Alpha Capricornids will be active from July 7 to August 15, 2022. And, on July 31, the Alpha Capricornids will form with plateau-like" and the moon will be five percent full. The number of meteors is highest in the early hours of Friday, July 29.
Buzz Aldrin, former astronaut and engineer, took to Twitter to shed further light on the event. While sharing a stunning picture of Alpha Capricornids meteor shower, he tweeted, “One doesn’t have to travel to the Moon to see some truly amazing sights, and we may have one coming up this week in the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower. Get your telescopes focused for August, we might have a good show.”
One doesn’t have to travel to the Moon to see some truly amazing sights, and we may have one coming up this week in the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower. Get your telescopes focused for August, we might have a good show. pic.twitter.com/HBlvYygCSk— Dr. Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) July 27, 2022
Where can you see the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower?
Alpha Capricornids meteor shower will surely be a breathtaking spectacle. The event fortunately can be viewed on either side of the equator. If you are in the northern hemisphere, the meteor shower will be best seen after 11 pm until about four in the morning just around when the Sun is about to rise, as reported by the Universe Guide. If you are in the southern hemisphere, the event will be much easier to view in the sky due to it being higher in the sky. The radiant point will move across the sky over successive nights.