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

Meteor Shower Dates and Viewing Tips

By Bob Berman
September 13, 2021
Leonid Meteor Shower

An artist’s depiction of the Leonid meteor shower in 1833 which produced one of the most spectacular displays in history.

Edmund Weiss

Get ready for fall’s meteors! When’s the next meteor shower? Our Meteor Shower Calendar for 2021 has the dates, best time to view, number per hour, point of origin, and associated comet—plus, viewing tips!

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. 8–10 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). 

Delta Aquarids | July 28–29, 2021

The Delta Aquarids get their name from the constellation Aquarius, which they appear to emanate from. A weaker shower, the Delta Aquarids typically reach their peak in late July and produce between 10 and 20 meteors per hour around this time. A truly dark sky offers the best chance at seeing the Delta Aquarids, as they tend to not be as bright as some of the other meteor showers.

This year, the Delta Aquarids mingle with the light of a bright waning gibbous Moon, which will make it more difficult to see these faint meteors. Keep an eye out for them in the pre-dawn hours of July 28, 29, and 30.

Perseids | August 11–13, 2021

We’re in for a fantastic Perseids show this year! The New Moon falls on August 8 and will still be thin when the Perseids reach their peak just a few days later, which means that they won’t be washed out by the Moon’s brightness. This meteor shower is also one of the most productive of the year—expect to see up to 50 meteors per hour in a clear, dark sky. For more viewing tips, check out our guide to the Perseid meteors!

Draconids | October 8–10, 2021

The Draconids aren’t the most impactful show of the year, but they do mark the start of a busy season of meteor showers. After the Draconids, a shower happens every one to two weeks until late December.

This year, the Draconids reach their peak just a few days after the new Moon of October 6. This, plus the fact that the thin crescent Moon sets before nightfall, means that we’ll have perfectly dark skies to make meteor-viewing all the easier. These meteors also tend to peak earlier in the night than most; look for them as soon as it’s dark enough to see the stars.

Orionids | October 20–21, 2021

The Orionids are named after one of the most recognizable constellations in the sky, Orion, from which these meteors appear to radiate. Often featuring some of brightest and fastest streaking stars, the Orionids appear in mid October and reach their peak in the hours before dawn on October 21. Unfortunately, this year they will compete directly with the full Hunter’s Moon, which will be at its brightest on the same night as the Orionids (October 20–21).

Because of the timing, the Orionids will likely be washed out and won’t be as prominent as usual. For the best chance at seeing these shooting stars, venture out in the dark hours before dawn and position yourself away from the full Moon as best as you can.

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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More meteor shower recommendations

We’re hoping to see the Geminid meteor shower this year. Please post more information about meteor showers coming in Fall and Winter.

Brilliant meteor years ago

Many years ago (mid 1990's) I was driving home from my second shift job in Milford CT when suddenly there was a brilliant green streak if light seemingly at low altitude travelling south to north right above the highway. My first thought was "WOW - fireworks". Then quickly realized it was past midnight in the middle of January. No way it was fireworks, but surely the most brilliant meteor I would ever hope to see.

Point of origin

When is says “Point of origin” does that mean we should look in that direction? Or is that referring to the hemisphere that they could best be viewed in?
Thanks!

Point of Origin

The Editors's picture

The “Point of Origin” refers to the radiant, the point from which the meteors appear to emerge (although this is partly due to perspective, as the meteors in a shower are actually traveling parallel to each other). When a radiant point is above the horizon, more meteors may be visible (the higher the radiant is in the sky, the more the meteors that can be seen). However, one should not look at the radiant, but instead select a part of the sky away from it to see the longest meteor paths. Some prefer to look straight up, to keep an eye on the most sky, or look where the sky is darkest. Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky–just focus on one spot, and you are likely to see one or more at some time during your skywatching. Hope this helps!

looking forward to seeing more Meteors;

looking forward to seeing more Meteors; thanks for the Meteorite info~

line of bright lights~

altho I did not see the line of lights; I would surmise these are "weather/internet satellites"; an internet article says the co. "lifted about 60 weather satellites this year in a line; they break into smaller satellite groups. just sayin';

“Shooting Star”

I live in central MA. As I watched stared out my window over the woods to beyond tonight, thinking of my kitty who escaped into the night a week ago tonight, the biggest and brightest shooting star flew right over the treetops. It was amazing and brought tears to my eyes.

shooting stars

The Editors's picture

We’re sorry to hear about your cat. Perhaps every time a shooting star flies across the skies, one of our pets goes to heaven. One can imagine.

Falling star?

I live in Mooroolbark Victoria 3138, I saw what my mother would call a 'falling star' last night, aout 10 or 11pm. Very bright, and aeemed very close

yesterday was july 31st

yesterday was july 31st
i saw the last of what i think was the last of Delta Aquarid

Shooting Star in the Lone Star

I saw a shooting star last night (07/25/2021) between 8-9pm that reminded me of a Roman candle! I’ve witnessed a shooting star decades ago, but this was brighter and much closer; it looked like it fell in a nearby neighborhood here in McKinney, TX. It was breathtakingly beautiful!

Meteor shower

July 3rd 2021 south twin falls, Idaho multi colored in north sky about 11:00 pm. And I saw that row of lights, I wish I knew what those were! Makes a guy stop and say hmmmmmm. What’s really going on.

Line of stars or satellites

We saw the same thing described by others here (June 23 castle rock WA, June 3 by J. Gruber, March 8 by Lucy the UK, etc.) on June 26 at about 10:30 pm in the sky over Pennsylvania. A series of what looked like satellites heading about southeast. Each would appear, then disappear, and then briefly re-appear. They were on the same line. There were maybe 15 total, and then they stopped.

14 in a row seen from Castle Rock, Wa.

We witnessed the same exact activity as Jeff Gruder’s June 3rd comment, but on the night of June 21st. Same activity…bright shooting stars moving fast, but dying in couple seconds, followed by another and another going in same direction, and same number of bursts…14. How strange is that?

Meteor shower

I saw one yesterday approximately 7pm. It was quite large and fissled out right in front of my eyes
I live in coffs harbour nsw 2450

Ocala June 9 2021

Saw the biggest brightest asteroid/shooting star we have ever seen! Went from south to north (at least it looked like it), very low in the sky. So bright. so fast!!

Trail of stars following another same spot.

1:45am today I saw a trail of stars same spot moving west to east one after another in straight line about 3 seconds apart each one moving about as fast as a satellite would and each one would last about 3 to 4 seconds. In total I saw about 14, I have never seen such a thing but looks like other people have other times in the past very interesting.

Meteor - April 12, 2021

Saw a meteor flash in the sky in South Florida amid all the street lights. It burst like a fireball and then broke up into red trails in the sky.

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 !!!

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