How to see the Delta Aquariids meteor shower in July 2022 including during its peak around Friday, July 29
The Delta Aquariids meteor shower has been busy in the skies above us for the last two weeks and will last almost until the end of August.
But the display is about to reach its peak and here's how you can catch it.
What is the Delta Aquariid meteor shower?
The Delta Aquariids are known for kicking-off the summer meteor season in the northern hemisphere. And while it is households in the southern hemisphere that could be treated to the best view those living in northern areas should still be able to catch a display.
The event is described by experts at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich as a 'moderate meteor shower', which is why its peak in late July perhaps will be the best time to try seeing it.
The shower's name comes from the constellation in the night sky that it appears to be moving away from - the radiant of this shower is inside the constellation Aquarius near the bright star Delta Aquarii.
What causes it?
Any meteor shower happens when the Earth moves through debris produced by a comet, and it is the bits of rock and dust in the debris stream that collides with our atmosphere and creates the fiery streaks that are then seen shooting across the sky.
The Royal Observatory says there remains some uncertainty as to which parent comet is behind the Aquariids shower and there have been a number of suggestions - but most recently it is felt it could be Comet 96P/Machholz that is four miles across in diameter.
When can you see it?
The meteor shower takes place roughly between mid-July and mid-to late August and this year is expected to finish by August 23.
The 2022 peak is most likely to happen between Friday and Saturday - July 29 and 30 - when there will be a steady stream of meteors.
While some showers can create up to 100 meteors every hour the Aquariids will most likely see around 20 to 25 every 60 minutes so you'll need to keep your eyes peeled.
And be prepared for a late night - or early start - with experts suggesting you should begin watching from around 1 or 2am with the best of the action close to 3am or just after.
Getting the best view
Before making plans to get up - or stay up late - check the weather forecast. Clear skies will give the you the greatest success and so if conditions aren't favourable try and look for the meteors on another day either side of the expected peak.
Being under a dark sky, with as little light pollution as possible, will also maximise your chances and you need an unobstructed view looking south.
Stargazers recommend lying down on a blanket or using a garden chair to ensure you can look up and have the widest view possible of the sky - and you won't need binoculars or a telescope which will narrow your view - on this occasion the naked eye is best.
Allow your eyes to get used to the dark, which means starting a little earlier than the peak to allow your body to adjust and if possible also avoid looking at your phone as the blue light it emits will also change how quick and able you are to adapt to the dark conditions and see what you're looking for.