Meteor Shower Calendar 2021: When Is the Next Meteor Shower?

Meteor Shower Dates and Viewing Tips

By Bob Berman
March 29, 2021
Meteor Shower

When is the next meteor shower? Our Meteor Shower Calendar for 2021 has dates for all the principal meteor showers—plus viewing tips from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Catch a shooting star!

2021 Meteor Shower Calendar

The dates of major meteor showers do not change much from year to year, though the peak (or “maximum”) of a shower may vary by a day or two. We’ve listed these peak dates in the table below, along with the average number of meteors to expect to see per hour (in prime conditions) and the best viewing time for each shower. More detailed information about each meteor shower can be found below the table.

Find viewing tips for the two biggest meteor showers here: the Perseid Meteor Shower and the Geminid Meteor Shower.

Principal Meteor Showers
SHOWER BEST VIEWING POINT OF ORIGIN DATE OF MAXIMUM* NO. PER HOUR** ASSOCIATED COMET
Quadrantid Predawn N Jan. 2–3 25
Lyrid Predawn S Apr. 21–22 10 Thatcher
Eta Aquarid Predawn SE May 4–5 10 Halley
Delta Aquarid Predawn S July 28–29 10
Perseid Predawn NE Aug. 11–12 50 Swift-Tuttle
Draconid Late evening NW Oct. 9–10 6 Giacobini-Zinner
Orionid Predawn S Oct. 20–21 15 Halley
Northern Taurid Late evening S Nov. 11–12 3 Encke
Leonid Predawn S Nov. 16–17 10 Tempel-Tuttle
Andromedid Late evening S Nov. 25–27 5 Biela
Geminid All night NE Dec. 13–14 75
Ursid Predawn N Dec. 21–22 5 Tuttle
*May vary by one or two days    **Moonless, rural sky    Bold = most prominent
  • “Predawn” means between midnight and about an hour before morning twilight. Best time to view most major showers.
  • “Late evening” means approximately between 10 p.m. and midnight (or a little past).

Meteor Showers of 2021

Quadrantids | January 2–3, 2021

In the right conditions, the Quadrantids are one of the best meteor showers of the year, as they feature an average of 25 meteors per hour at their peak. Unfortunately, the Quadrantids’ peak is quite short, lasting only from midnight to dawn. In any case, their peak date this year coincides with a bright waning gibbous Moon, which makes it difficult to see the falling meteors.

Lyrids | April 21–22, 2021

The Lyrids reach their peak on the night of April 21–22, 2021, when you can expect to see an average of 10 meteors per hour in dark, clear skies between midnight and dawn. Rarely, the Lyrids produce surges of up to 100 meteors per hour.

This meteor shower is visible from both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, but is much more active in the Northern Hemisphere, where the meteors’ radiant is high in the sky. This year, the Moon will be in a waxing gibbous phase during the Lyrids’ peak, so the best viewing will be between moonset and dawn on April 22.

Eta Aquarids | May 4–5, 2021

The Eta Aquarids are the result of dust and debris produced by Halley’s Comet as it circles the Sun. This meteor shower is most spectacular in the Southern Hemisphere, where the meteors’ radiant is higher in the sky. In the Northern Hemisphere, Eta Aquarids are often seen closer to the horizon. 

Look for the Eta Aquarids in the early pre-dawn hours of May 5, when 10–20 meteors per hour can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere (and nearly double that in the Southern Hemisphere). 

Stay tuned as we continue to add more meteor showers!

Perseid meteor shower

Meteor Showers Viewing Tips

  • The most common question is “Where can I see the meteor showers?” The answer is: ANYWHERE in the sky! During a meteor shower, meteors can appear at any location, not just near their radiant. (The radiant is the location in the sky from which the paths of meteors in a meteor shower appear to originate, from our perspective on Earth. For example, the constellation Perseus is the radiant for the Perseids meteor shower; constellation Leo, the Leonids.) As far as viewing location on Earth, several major meteor showers can be seen in both Hemispheres, but others might be better seen in one or the other, depending on how far above or below the horizon the radiant is located. The Ursids, for example, are essentially seen only in the Northern Hemisphere, as the radiant is too far north of the equator for good viewing in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • When are meteor showers? See the chart above for “date of maximum,” which lists the peak of each meteor shower (when the shooting stars will be most frequent). The time of the year for each shower is determined by when in Earth’s orbit it crosses the stream of meteoroids.
  • What time can I see the meteor showers? See the chart above for the best viewing time. In nearly all showers, the radiant is highest just before dawn, but any time beween midnight and dawn gives you a view of most meteors head-on, for a more frequent display. Starting around midnight, your location on the globe spins around to the forward-facing half of Earth (in relation to the direction of orbit). At dawn, your location on the globe directly faces the direction in which Earth is traveling along its orbit. 
    • Note: the Geminid meteor shower is visible all night long, since Gemini appears just an hour or two after nightfall; the radiant is highest a little after midnight. 
  • Where to look? The best place to start is between the radiant and the zenith (straight above you in the sky). (Once again, the radiant is where the meteors appear to start from.) See the “point of origin” above. 
  • How to look? You don’t need any special equipment. In fact, binoculars do not work well for meteor showers. The naked eye is your best tool!

Dark Skies, Clear Skies Needed!

  • The sky needs to be dark, away from all the city lights. Try to get to a viewing site as far as possible from bright lights. This may require planning—for a country drive or a campout.
  • Bright moonlight, within a few days of a full Moon will reduce the number of meteors that you will see. Check our Full Moon Chart.
  • Obviously, the weather needs to cooperate so that the skies are clear.
  • Look for a location with a wide-open view of the sky, free from obstructions like tall trees or buildings.
  • Spend about 20 minutes outside for your eyes to fully adjust to the darkness of the night sky.
  • Spead a blanket on the ground and get cozy!

For more information, click here to read our article, “What are Meteor Showers: Facts About Shooting Stars.”

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Reader Comments

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Trail of stars

Today around 5.30 a.m witness a trail of stars through my velux windows for the first time living in Edgware did not realise it occurs often

star trail

i left a message about “stars” this morning and it appears i witnessed something very similar to Lorie who posted on this site 15th October. mine too moved from west to east. i live in the UK.

stars

about 5.30am this morning i saw a condensed cluster of stars that were in a straight line. the stars started to move across the sky over head continuing in a straight line and the gap between the stars expanding the further they travelled. it seemed like an infinite number of stars that started to move across the sky and then as quickly as it started they disappeared. this lasted about 1-2 minutes in total. i have never witnessed anything like it before. do you have any ideas what it was that i witnessed?

Feb 6,2021, fireball in the sky

Feb 6, 2021 my daughter and I were traveling south and we saw a fireball going from left to right around 6p.m. It started high on our left and quicky dropped to our right, going east to west. It looked like an airplane on fire. What was it?

Meteord

So I went outside about 5:00 a.m. in Oklahoma and I saw the stars going all kind of squirrely in the sky is this normal is this what meteors do

meteor showers

The Editors's picture

Hi there. I’m not sure what you mean by squirrely? If you mean the path of a shooting star (meteor) as it travels across the sky, then normally it basically follows a straight line. Different shooting stars may appear in different sections of the sky, but usually you can trace the line of their path back to the same apparent point (due to perspective), called a radiant. Sort of like fireworks, in that every stream of light expands from a single point, although the actual path nearest that point may not be lit.

There are also sporadic meteors that are not associated with the major and minor meteor showers. More of these are seen toward dawn than in the evening.

If, however, you are referring to the fixed stars shimmering or twinkling slightly, then that is likely due to atmospheric distortion, in which the incoming light is bent (refracted). On some evenings, this is more noticeable than others, and will depend in part on the temperature and density of the atmospheric layers the light from the star travels through to reach our eyes.

Hope this helps!

I saw one Shooting Star tonight too about 5:30 PST

While my boyfriend was adjusting his binoculars so we could watch the conjunction of Jupitar and Saturn and looking to the southwest, I too saw a shooting star flashing across the sky below the conjuction, from right to left. I live in Northridge, CA. Then I got on this web-site and found Alan's post.

Another shooting star

1:35 GMT not as bright and big as the earlier one. More of a streak.

Shooting star 00:52GMT

I’m sure I just saw a really bright shooting star over Dublin at 00:52 GMT. I couldn’t believe my eyes, anywhere I can confirm it?

Shooting star tonight (Dec 21, 2020) ?

Approx 6:35 PM, from South Florida, watching the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn while looking, of course, to the southwest, what could only be a shooting star flashed across the sky briefly a bit below the conjunction, from right to left.

In looking online for meteor showers, the Geminids are gone and none are scheduled at this time. What was it ? Any ideas ?

Meteors

between 10 pm-12 pm I witnessed 3 bright meteors; one was glowing for miles; beautiful !!!

Shooting Star

I just saw a shooting star at around 3:48 A.M.

we all see the same sky?!

we most assuredly do not all look at the same part of the sky.

meteor shower visibility

The Editors's picture

Thank you for your feedback! We have revised the copy to clarify.

For all these people saying

For all these people saying they are catching meteorites, do they hurt at the very least I imagine it would be quite uncomfortable lol

Star trail

Watched 20/30 stars (lights) consistent size, following in a row like geese fly, headed west to east at 6:20 a.m. for approximately 3 minutes., then disappeared. Victoria B.C.

Clarification

Any time is a good time to watch for meteors - especially midnight to dawn - as there is always some dust or other cloud that Earth is plowing through. However, in 2020, the Last Quarter Moon is out during the peak. This great a lot of glare which can ruin it for skywatchers. So Bob Berman is saying that it is worth looking just before midnight before the Moon rises to ruin things with its glare. Check the Moonrise calculator referenced above for your full Moon time.

Meteor:

I just yesterday happen to catch a falling meteor (I believe) with my outside Security camera. It went flying by super fast and was very loud. I posted it on my facebook Page. It was jet black and leaving a trail behind it. I believe it went down not to far from here where I live because it was so low. I wouldn't even know where to begin to look for it as distance could be anywhere.

Shouting star ? Flying ball of fire go sofast it actually

I'm in clonmel co Tipperary I just seen a shooting star so big n bright flying so fast it actually passed a plane flying in opsite direction it looked so close to plane we thought it was going to crash

meteor

saw a meteor this morning,i live in Schofields in sydney,and was driving to work on schofields rd,meteor was heading east,can u tell me anything more about it
thanks

Previous post

The two meteors were seen from Mesa, Arizona. What a treat.

I caught Two meteors on the same day.

On June 16, 2020 approximately 4:45 AM I saw a ball of white light fall slowly SE more east than south falling straight down. Then later that night approximately 11:11 PM I witnessed a meteor streaking from the east to the west showing off its ball of fire streaks behind the huge white ball. I was talking to my friend and I stood up told her to turn around and she too for the first time ever witnessed a falling star so to speak.

Moving stars/lights in the sky

I saw several lights traveling at the same speed and equidistant on evening several months ago - I counted approx. 12. My partner looked them up and thought they were satellites. Very strange and disturbing to think we're cluttering the sky with this stuff and heaven only knows what it's doing to our bodies and the planet's. Look up 5G on space.com

Moving stars / lights in the sky

On Thursday 14th may 2020 .
There was a moving star which caught my attention. I thoughht it was a very slow shootings star. It would then disappear into the milky way . Then I noticed another one traveling at the same slow speed from the same location behind it and this star did the same thing . Then another 1 and another . All at the same speed in the same direct line and all an equal distance form eachother .there was about 40 and most would disappear some would stop in the same position as the first and flash 1 actually changed direcrion in a 90 degree angle . Then another line started to appear just above the first row doing the same thing . What is this ? Very strange .

Big shooting star tonight at 6.50pm

Walking my dog this evening at around 6.50pm in Beaconsfield Victoria Australia and spotted a good size shooting star about 10 o clock on a dial angle height . A sparkle flaring tail with about 5mm length in size , lasted 3 seconds

Shooting Star

Here on the kenai Peninsula at approximately midnight seen a massive bright amber color streak though the artic sky propelling towards the south which seemed to be so close that its treachery would been splash down in the north Pacific Ocean.

Lyrid Meteor Showers

I saw one shooting star today at 2:10 am. It was so beautiful but it fall fast. I hope I can see a lot of them falling slowly.

Meteors

So a few days ago I saw something that looked like exactly like a meteor but I can’t fine anything about it online, why?

meteor

Was walking after dark a few nights ago, maybe 3/5. The moon was a bit less than 3/4 full. So very bright.
Yet I saw a meteor, going about 15*-20*, apparently emanating from Pleiades. Never saw a meteor
with so much brightness. What’s with that? Could it have been space junk?

Jan. 29 meteor sighting

From where did you observe, Randall? A single meteor or three?

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