Rockford Gets A Great View Of Twin Meteor Showers Wednesday
Looking back over the first half of the year, 2021 has been chock-full of interesting celestial events that have been visible to Rockford and the Rockford area. We're not done yet.
We started out 2021 with the Quadrantid meteor shower around January 3rd, then we moved on to January 8th with Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn clustering together for about 4 days. Next came the Venus-Jupiter Conjunction in February, followed by April's Lyrids Meteor Shower, May 26th total lunar eclipse, then it was June 10th's Annular Solar Eclipse (information gathered from Space.com and SmthsonianMag.com).
Which brings us to tomorrow, July 28th, and not one, but two meteor showers peaking at the same time on the same day. Those showers are the Southern Delta Aquariids and the Alpha Capricornids, but I'm sure you already knew that. Or not. Probably not.
At first I figured that we were getting two meteor showers on the same night because of them being cancelled last year due to the pandemic and related lockdowns, but no, surprisingly enough, there are other more science-y reasons.
Prevention.com explains that the Southern Delta Aquariids have been visible since July 12th, and they'll be visible through August 23rd, but they'll be peaking in the pre-dawn hours of July 29th. The Alpha Capracornids have been visible since July 3rd, and will continue to be so through August 15th, but their peak comes early Thursday, too.
Although the Delta Aquariids will produce a more consistent shower, with 12 faint meteors per hour on average, according to the Griffith Observatory, the Alpha Capracornids offer up about five strong, bright shooting stars each hour. You can look anywhere during a meteor shower, but the best portion of the sky to watch is usually about 30 degrees away from the radiant point. “Radiant point” refers to the rough spot from which shooting stars seem to emerge.
We should have some great viewing opportunities in and around the Rockford area, and the best part is that you won't need special equipment to enjoy the show.