Meteor Shower Calendar 2020: When Is the Next Meteor Shower?

Meteor Shower Dates and Viewing Tips

By Bob Berman
December 29, 2019
Meteor Shower

The next meteor shower is the Quadrantids on January 3–4! See viewing details—plus, the full 2020 Meteor Shower Calendar covering the dates of all the principal meteor showers.

The Next Meteor Shower: The Quadrantids

January 3-4, 2020: The year’s first major meteor shower is the Quadrantids, peaking on the night of Friday, January 3, into the predawn hours of Saturday, January 4

After the Geminid and Perseid meteor showers, the Quadrantid meteor shower is the third-most-active display of the year, with approximately 25 meteors visible per hour during the shower’s peak. Unlike other major showers, whose periods of peak activity often span multiple nights, the Quadrantids’ peak lasts only a few hours—don’t miss it! 

And here’s some good news: There’s no Moon in the predawn hours (2 a.m. till dawn) this year! The Moon, which will be full on January 10, will have set well before dawn, allowing for maximum darkness and optimal viewing conditions.

2020 Meteor Shower Calendar

Is there a meteor shower tonight? When is the next meteor shower? Find dates and times of “best viewing” below.

Note that the meteor shower dates do not change much from year to year, though the peak of a shower may vary by a day or two. Find viewing tips for the two “biggies” 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. 4 25
Lyrid Predawn S Apr. 22 10 Thatcher
Eta Aquarid Predawn SE May 4 10 Halley
Delta Aquarid Predawn S July 30 10
Perseid Predawn NE Aug. 11–13 50 Swift-Tuttle
Draconid Late evening NW Oct. 9 6 Giacobini-Zinner
Orionid Predawn S Oct. 21–22 15 Halley
Taurid Late evening S Nov. 9 3 Encke
Leonid Predawn S Nov. 17–18 10 Tempel-Tuttle
Andromedid Late evening S Nov. 25–27 5 Biela
Geminid All night NE Dec. 13–14 75
Ursid Predawn N Dec. 22 5 Tuttle
*May vary by one or two days    **Moonless, rural sky    Bold = most prominent
  • “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.

Meteor Showers Viewing Tips

  • The most common question is “Where can I see the meteor showers?” The answer is: ANYWHERE in the sky! Yes, for this type of celestial wonder, your specific location does not matter.
  • 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? The answer is: See the chart above for “best viewing.” In nearly all showers, the radiant is highest just before dawn. But anytime 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 arises 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). 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 for meteor showers. The naked eye is best.

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.”

Reader Comments

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I saw the same in the lower

I saw the same in the lower eastern sky

I live in NE Ohio and

I live in NE Ohio and regularly see shooting stars but have never seen a fireball. It lasted about 1 sec and looked like something exploded, fell and disappeared without a trace. Magnificent !

we live in S.C. and at

we live in S.C. and at aproximately 4:30 a.m. me and my husband saw a bright orange ball go across the sky, it lasted longer than a shooting star, and then it looked like it exploded into 2 pieces, we dont have a clue what that was

I also saw a big blue

I also saw a big blue fireball fly across the sky sat evening over greenlake

I just saw something that

I just saw something that looked like a white ball of fire shoot across the sky 9/11/2014 around 9 pm it looked like a comet . Did anyone see it?

My husband saw the bright

My husband saw the bright shooting stars halfway across the southern horizon last night 9/11/2014 approximately 9pm California time. Had a very long trail..

My neighbor and I saw it.

My neighbor and I saw it. What was it?

I saw it! It was amazing! It

I saw it! It was amazing! It looked super bright and like it was really close, didn't it? I've been trying to research it online to find out what it was but have found no info.

We saw 12 fireballs starting

We saw 12 fireballs starting in the east coming about 2 at a time, then heading west as some burned out. Can't find anything out in regards to this, what was it? August 12th around 10:00 pm

I saw it while on Mt.Diablo

I saw it while on Mt.Diablo just before dawn. A large white ball with a large dust trail. Could not believe what I was seeing. Was not a meteor.

Just saw a "shooting star" at

Just saw a "shooting star" at 9:30ish PM CST 9/12/2014 while taking my dog out to go to the bathroom.

I saw exactly what you're

I saw exactly what you're describing - but on 8/19 just after 9pm. Been watching skies here abt 17yrs + NVR saw such a lie - large bright white which traveled just over my house for abt 3" in sky. No tail - no color change - no satellite (seen many) or ISS. I have no idea what it was-like no other shooting star. Bright as a headlight pointing to ground-then just gone. Live in NH, very close to airport and CERTAIN wasn't a plane either. Odd others describe same thing at different places around globe just days after. Have NO idea what it was+have found no info explaining it either.

I saw something very close to

I saw something very close to what Anissa describes. From here in Kansas City, Mo. on Sept. 20th 2014 at 7:27 p.m. looking north west kinda low in the sky just before sunset. Looked exactly like a comet with a tail only it was huge and I'm not aware of any visible to the naked eye comets or anything else the would have been in the sky at this time. I was able to get a couple pictures and even a short video. It was big enough to clearly make out even though I used the camera on my cellphone.

My husband saw it at that

My husband saw it at that time in eastern NC. It was to the southwest very bright and went straight down. He lost sight of it at the tree line. And waited to hear an explosion but didn't hear anything.

I just saw one at about 8:30

I just saw one at about 8:30 pm in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Just saw an extremely bright

Just saw an extremely bright white light (with a tail) shooting low across the sky then it "broke up" and disappeared. Sunshine Coast, BC. September 13, 2014 around 8:40 pm.

I saw that too. I'm downtown

I saw that too. I'm downtown Vancouver, BC and it looked huge! It was so bright and blazed across the sky for a few seconds at around 830 pm tonight. I thought it might hit something! So beautiful though

We saw it in the sky over

We saw it in the sky over Ganges, Salt Spring Island heading west, very low in the sky, looked like it was heading down, past our treeline. White ball with a firey tail, beautiful, too fast for a picture.

We saw it in the sky over

We saw it in the sky over Ganges, Salt Spring Island around 8:30 p.m. last night,heading west, very low in the sky, looked like it was heading down, past our treeline. White ball with a firey tail, beautiful, too fast for a picture.

I have seen shooting stars a

I have seen shooting stars a lot, I live in nigeria (africa), I don't know why people don't want to believe,i have seen a single star move on it own without burning like a shooting star,nobody believed me.pls I need to be believed

From USA- New York state -

From USA- New York state - NOT THE CITY-- I saw a very large meteor or star shoot across the sky. I have seen many falling stars, even have sat out in the yard with my children when they were young and home to watch meteor showers. This one was UNLIKE anyone I have ever viewed. It was HUGE and beautiful and it traveled vertical with a long tail behind it.....
do not know if something similar was seen from the person in Africa as I do not know your long. and lat. from me and time zone--highly doubt it but not sure.

My first ever meteor seen

My first ever meteor seen tonight at about 20.45. Massive and not that high up,across Staffordshire England. Still in shock mode.

Hi I have a very nice

Hi I have a very nice telescope that I bought for myself afteR I saved my money after starting my new job late last year but I have seen stars move too :).

I believe you hun, I've seen

I believe you hun, I've seen them also, thought I was crazy now know I'm not TY.

Just saw an awesome meteorite

Just saw an awesome meteorite on a very slow burn going South to North over Colorado zip code 80820 directly overhead heading toward Denver - I've never seen such a slow burning falling star!

My husband thinks he saw one

My husband thinks he saw one a little while ago...we are in Maine. We're going back out to see if there are more. :)

We saw one about one hour ago

We saw one about one hour ago out in moab Utah!it was awsome

I saw that too, just west of

I saw that too, just west of Chicago. What an amazing sight!

Saw it too from Ottawa,

Saw it too from Ottawa, Ontario. Amazing!

We saw one too. Described

We saw one too. Described exactly as you said. It was approx. 7:45 EST.

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