See the Almanac's Meteor Showers Guide for 2013 for the dates of all the principal meteor showers during the year—plus viewing tips.
Meteor Showers Viewing Tips
- To answer the most common question: Yes, you can see these meteor showers from ANYWHERE in the sky, provided it's clear and dark, away from all the city lights.
- Where to look? The best place to start is between the radiant (or "point of origin" of the meteor shower) and the zenith (straight above you). The radiant is where the flight course appears to start from. If you look straight at the radiant for a meteor shower display, you will likely not see much of a tail on each "shooting star" since you are looking at them close to head on.
- On the chart below, see the "date of maximum," which shows when meteor showers will be the strongest.
- Note that the "best viewing" times are usually predawn and late evening—when the radiant is highest in the sky for the night, or highest before sunlight obscures the view. The time of the year for each shower is determined by when Earth's orbit crosses the path of the meteoroids.
- You don't need any special equipment. In fact, binoculars do not work for meteor showers. The naked eye is best.
- Spread a blanket on the ground and look up in the dark night sky.
For more information, click here to read our article, "What are Meteor Showers: Facts About Shooting Stars."
2013 Meteor Showers Guide
Note that the meteor shower dates do not change much from year to year.
- "Predawn" means an hour or so before morning twilight. Best time to view most major showers.
- "Late evening" means approximately between 10 p.m. and midnight (or a little past).
In general, most major meteor showers are best seen after midnight; some do not even appear until after then. Usually, a better time to see them is after 2 a.m., and the best time is about an hour or so just before morning twilight. Geminids, however, can be seen starting earlier, such as around 9 or 10 p.m., until morning twilight. Sometimes Draconids may be visible at nightfall through early evening.
See the monthly Sky Watch for highlights of the night sky and a printable sky map!