A guide to meteor showers in 2021

Lyrids

Peaks around April 21–22, 2021

Credit: Islam Hassan / Flickr

The Lyrids are thought to be a medium strength meteor shower with about 10 to 15 meteors per hour. The best time to watch it will be on April 22, an hour or two before dawn. The Lyrids are an exciting celestial event as they can have rare sudden bursts where meteors enter the sky at 100 meteors per hour. The Lyrids originate from Comet Thatcher and are near the star Vega in the constellation Vega.


Eta Aquariids

Peaks around May 4–5, 2021

Credit: Getty Images

The Eta Aquariids is one of the fastest meteor showers with meteors moving through the sky at around 148,000 miles per hour. The best time to view the Eta Aquariids will be on May 5, a few hours before dawn, as the shower peaks around 4 am in morning. It’s best seen in the Southern Hemisphere and during its peak can see between 20 and 30 meteors per hour. The Eta Aquariids are one of the southern hemisphere's best meteor showers of the year while the northern hemisphere tends to view half as many meteors as the southern regions.


Southern Delta Aquariids

Peaks around July 28–29, 2021

Credit: Alvis Upitis / Getty Images

The Delta Aquariids are best seen in the Southern Hemisphere and tropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The meteor shower can reach up to 15 to 20 meteors per hour and streak across the sky steadily throughout its peak. The shower will be most visible between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. The meteors come from a nearby star Delta positioned in the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer.


Perseids

Peaks around August 11–12, 2021

Credit: Jason Weingart / Barcroft Media

One of the most popular meteor showers of the year, people have the privilege of watching the Perseids on a pleasant summer night. Around 50 to 100 meteors dash through the atmosphere per hour during the peak of the shower and radiate from the constellation Perseus the Hero. The Perseids will be seen best a few hours before dawn on August 11th.


Orionids

Peaks around October 20–21, 2021

Credit: ITV Central

This year it’s predicted that the Orionids will display around 10 to 20 meteors per hour. This meteor shower will take place as a full moon shines brightly through the sky, making it a bit more difficult to see meteors. The Orionids are best seen a few hours before dawn and come from the same cosmic material, Halley’s comet, as the Eta Aquariids. This meteor shower originates from the constellation Orion the Hunter.


Leonids

Peaks around November 16–17, 2021

Credit: CBS New York

The Leonids have had some of the most spectacular and sparkling meteor showers throughout the decades. The rate of meteors observed on its peak night can often be hard to predict, as the Leonids made history with one of the most famous meteor storms in 1966. For about 15 minutes on November 17, 1966 thousands of meteors per minute dashed across the atmosphere and dazzled both the sky and onlookers. It seems that the Leonids should have around 18 meteors per hour in 2021. The meteor shower comes from the constellation Leo the Lion.


Geminids

Peaks around December 13–14, 2021

Credit: Wade Earle

The Geminids radiate from the stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini the Twins and are known for originating from asteroid-like space rocks instead of comets. It is the strongest meteor shower of 2021 and is particularly special in the Northern Hemisphere. At a rate of 50 meteors per hour the Geminids light up the sky. It’s best viewed a few hours before dawn on December 13 and will have a steady rate of meteors throughout the peak night.


The Ursids

Peaks around Dec. 21-22.

Ye Aung Thu / AFP via Getty Images

The Ursids are prominent in the Northern Hemisphere and are active between December 17 to 26. You can expect to see around 10 to 20 meteors per hour during its peak. This meteor shower shines brightly around the winter solstice and radiates from the constellation Ursa Minor, the Lesser Bear.

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