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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11-13-13. About 4:55am.

11-13-13. About 4:55am. saw huge white meteor size of car tire shoot towards earth downward angle... had a white tail visible for about 3 sec.. lost sight in tree line.... Seymour ,ct

I saw a shooting star in this

I saw a shooting star in this morning at 11:00pm in Ethiopia

Yes , in sep 30, 1013 morning

Yes , in sep 30, 1013 morning I saw a shooting star in Addis Ababa Ethiopia

I saw a shooting star/meteor

I saw a shooting star/meteor at around 8:45 pm, September 28..it broke into 5 pieces and one piece started going sideways. Did anyone else see it? We're in southern ohio...it was the most amazing thing!

So sorry i missed the action

So sorry i missed the action sept 28!
We just saw a much smaller one in Terence Bay NS Can at 01:31 and it was quite unexpected.

I saw one too in Woodbridge,

I saw one too in Woodbridge, VA at around 1:28am, 18 Oct 2013. It was an amazing sight! Thought it was a shooting star at first, but it was huge and moving fast. Saw the tail wind and all!

Hi, Cinnamon Carriaga, I just

Hi, Cinnamon Carriaga,
I just moved from Woodbridge, VA, about 2 months ago to Nevada where I saw one last night outside of Lake Tahoe. So cool.

Thanks for sharing. I

Thanks for sharing. I haven't been to Lake Tahoe yet. It's on my list of places to go. I heard it's beautiful. Looking forward to seeing it for myself soon :)

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 we

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 we were around a bonfire. I was sitting facing south, both my neighbor and I stood up and yelled as a huge shooting star or a meteor zipped thru the sky; it was moving very fast towards downtown Atlanta.
I am surprised no one else reported seeing it. That very was exciting!!

Saw a very large meteor from

Saw a very large meteor from Athens Ohio early this morning, around 2AM, Sept 28, 2013. It was stunning! First time I have ever walked out with the purpose of watching for one and immediately seeing something so huge! It was directly overhead. I also saw a few small ones early evening on the 26th.

Yes! Near midnight on Sept.

The Editors's picture

Yes! Near midnight on Sept. 27-28, NASA cameras recorded a brilliant fireball, which analysts believe was a meter-class space rock exploding almost directly above Columbus, Ohio. Images and more information about this event may be found on: http://spaceweather.com.

At about 11:40 pm in

At about 11:40 pm in Parkersburg ,WV. I saw something I guess a shooting star. Can anyone confirm this ?? It was bright had a tail ( I guess a tail the brightness left a trail at least) also it had color a green tinge to it.

Yes I saw it. My sister and I

Yes I saw it. My sister and I were on her backlog deck in Vincent, Ohio. It was huge!!! Amazing!

We saw it here in kanawha

We saw it here in kanawha county wv too wonder what it was

Some friends and I were in

Some friends and I were in Reno, outside of Marietta, Ohio and saw it also. It was exactly as you described.

It was seen here in pike

It was seen here in pike County (southern ohio) too. Just awesome!

We saw it too!!!! We were

We saw it too!!!! We were looking at stars and around 11:30 or 11:40 pm all of a sudden the whole sky lit up. We didn't see the meteor or shooting star maybe we were just looking in the wrong direction (east) but we did see the unusual bright sky at night for about one second :) Impressive!!!!!

26sept13 @2228 saw shooting

26sept13 @2228 saw shooting star in lake city south carolina usa. was looking straight up and it shoot directly over me.

Just point of interest at

Just point of interest at 0330on 26th sept 2013
in Sussex UK I saw a huge bright moving light bigger than any i have ever seen travelling from east to west

Yeah! So did I, I was

Yeah! So did I, I was watching tv, and I have large windows in my living room, saw a large call of light and a streak behind it, (wonder if it hit my neighbor ^^)

I saw a meteor or comet

I saw a meteor or comet today. New York New Rochelle area at about 7:40... can this be confirmed?

I saw a couple in PA between

I saw a couple in PA between 5-5:30am. One around 5ish was very bright, the second at around 5:15ish was not as bright.

I saw perhaps the same

I saw perhaps the same shooting star at about 5:10 AM in CT. It was in the North East sky and was the brightest shooting star I had ever seen. The heavens were lit in spectacular fashion.

Noticed 6-7 shooting stars

Noticed 6-7 shooting stars over an hour starting at 3 am 9/10/13, n/nw from Bandon, OR. Didn't think it was a major shower, was checking site and saw others reporting similar.

At about 9 pm on September

At about 9 pm on September 8th we saw a lovely shooting star in the northeastern sky in Vancouver BC. The comet's tail had a multi-coloured halo. Any idea of which comet or meteor this is? It was much larger and slower than anything I've seen before, and "fell" for about 5 seconds.

No major meteor showers occur

The Editors's picture

No major meteor showers occur in September, but you probably saw a stray meteor/fireball, which can occur on any night. (On September 8, 2013, there were reports of fireballs in Oregon and California, USA.)

Meteors can burn with different colors, from orange-yellow, yellow, and red, to blue, green, or violet. This depends on the metals in the meteor, and which atoms/molecules in the atmosphere it hits.

A meteor's tail (called a train, or wake) can last about 1 to 10 seconds. Sometimes, a bright fireball can leave a persistent train that lasts a few minutes to over 30 minutes.

Factors that affect the speed of a meteor in the atmosphere include its size, its initial speed, and the angle when it hits the atmosphere.

For more information, you might be interested in these pages from the American Meteor Society:

http://www.amsmeteors.org/mete...

http://www.amsmeteors.org/fire...

Update 9/12/13:

The Editors's picture

Update 9/12/13: Spaceweather.com today mentions the "September epsilon Perseids" meteor shower, a minor shower that appears in September and peaks around Sept. 9; this year was especially prolific. Europe saw quite a show at midnight on Sept. 9 and 10; in North America, we couldn't see it because of daylight. However, stray fireballs had been seen for several days. It could be that the Sept 8 and 11 sightings in North America mentioned by readers were related to this minor shower.

For more information, you might go to Spaceweather.com, or to the American Meteor Society's page:

http://www.amsmeteors.org/2013...

when is the next shooting

when is the next shooting star

At about 2:20 a.m. (eastern

At about 2:20 a.m. (eastern time) on September 11, I saw a beautiful falling star - yellowish/goldish in appearance and it had a tail. I saw it in the northwestern sky. Very beautiful!

I also saw a shooting star at

I also saw a shooting star at about 8pm in Nigeria. It was such a beautiful sight

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