Don’t miss the spectacular Delta Aquarids meteor shower this weekend

Map of the Delta Aquariid radiant. Credit: Don Machholz

The ever spectacular Delta Aquarids meteor shower can be observed in the nighttime skies this weekend.


According to meteorologists, this year’s Delta Aquarids meteor shower will have better visibility than the Perseids which are due in August every year. This spectacular astral display can be observed from tonight, Friday, July 29, through to Sunday, July 31.

Up to 20 meteors on average are usually visible every hour. They have been appearing in the sky since July 12, and will continue until August 23, but this weekend is tipped to be the best time to view them. Of the three nights, tonight’s shower is expected to be the one with the best visibility say the experts.

The initial source of the Delta Aquarids has never been documented, but they are believed to be remnants from the 96P/Machholz comet, named after its discoverer, the American amateur astronomer Donald Machholz, @cometmachholz. This comet orbits the sun approximately every 5 years and is about 6 kilometres in diameter. 

This shower of shooting stars is named after the radiant point of the meteor shower. They all have a parallel trajectory but seen from the ground they seem to start from one single point. That point is the radiant of the meteor shower and is located in the constellation of Aquarius. Specifically the star Delta Aquari, one of the stars that make up the constellation. 

There are some comets that, when they approach the sun , cross the earth’s orbit and leave remains, small stones, or particles. When the earth enters the zone of the orbit where these remains are found, the particles collide with the atmosphere and decompose with the friction of the air. This is what we call shooting stars or meteors.   

In the northern hemisphere, the constellation will rise in the southeast from 12 midnight. When the constellation is higher, at around 2am, is when more shooting stars can be seen. They are better observed in the southern hemisphere where the constellation will rise in the east after dark and rise, so the radiant will be higher as a result.

To observe the Delta Aquarids meteor shower, the ideal plan is to find a dark place, away from urban lights and with few obstacles towards the horizon. It will not be necessary to use binoculars or telescopes. 


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at