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

Meteor Shower Dates and Viewing Tips

By Bob Berman
December 31, 2020
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. 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.

Stay tuned as we add more meteor showers to the list!

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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shooting star

december6,2017 at 11:20 pm I have seen a shooting star just 3sec I think..its so amazing its my first time to see it..

bright green tailed meteor

it was FANTASTIC!! my family and i were at the galaxy drive in theater in ennis texas, the kids were finally falling asleep (we were there for my now 4yr olds and my own birthday weekend out) and suddenly there's a BRIGHT flash and its green and shooting through the sky so quickly we thought it was a shooting star at first but the sheer size of it had me thinking meteor...it was so beautiful and absolutely amazing. best birthday ever!

meteor or fireball

I just saw a very bright large fireball/meteor November 30th 2017 about 8:45 pm looking west over the Pacific Ocean I am in Orange County CA. It was very low in the sky and very bright. it went from south to north at a slightly upward angle which was kind of strange, but very cool!

Shooting star

Bright green! Looked quite large compared to others I have seen. Seemed to shoot right across the sky. Beautiful!, would have been about 5pm

Shooting star

Bright green! Looked quite large compared to others I have seen. Seemed to shoot right across the sky. Beautiful!, would have been about 5pm

I saw a green bright light

I saw a green bright light shooting across the sky right in the Toronto suburb. It was flying very fast. It was flying pretty low and had a very bright green tail.. beautiful sight

Shooting star or meteor

Last night around 7pm, I think I saw a shooting star. I had come home from work and sitting in my car on the driveway, I looked up and saw a bright yellow light shoot down in the dark sky above the roof of our house. It came down so fast I wasn't sure if it was the street light reflecting from my car window. If it was a star, then it was my second time seeing one, just not as beautiful. The first time I saw one, it was so beautiful, the most incredible thing I'd ever seen.

Northeast Ohio metor

Saw a metor heading north at approximately 830pm with a greenish tail wondered what it was all about. I've seen many never seen a shower but I thought it was odd to have a green tail

Shooting Star

Just driving down the street at 930 pm, I seen the most beautiful thing in my 36 years of life! It took me by surprise as I have never seen something like this before in the sky, I think it was a better experience than the eclipse alone this year. I love the whole idea of the universe and I have a habit of always looking up and wondering what’s out there, I’m glad I was able to see this in my life time.

Shooting star

I was coming out of Wal-mart after going shopping for last minute Thanksgiving meal items, I looked up, said a prayer and I saw what looked like a bright star and then it moved across the sky and then just disappeared. It was the most beautiful, memorable thing I have ever seen. I am 42 and have never seen anything like this in my life. Looking forward to a meteor shower!!!

Meteor shower

I’m in San Carlos, ca near santee ,ca and saw what I thought was a falling star at first, but it’s part of the meteor shower this week, very close and really bright, glad I got to see it

1:50am in Tennessee

This was my first time I was able to experience this amazing shooting star or meteor! I was by myself walking my dog after returning from a friendsgiving enjoying the stars in between all the clouds. Looked up straight above my home where I usually look at all the stars, then boom there it went ball of light with a tail behind then gone. It was fast but the memory will last a lifetime. We live in the country where there's few lights... I never knew I could see something like that so close! I'm totally grateful! I made sure to make a wish :)

Wow....

Approx 5:30pm over Mission Viejo, CA...large falling star with long tail! Simply spectacular! Bright white ball with a long tail. Thought at first plane part but disappeared into nowhere. Searched news...nothing. A reminder that I am insignificant and only small part of this beautiful universe!

Meteor!

I saw it too! Driving down Newport coast - I thought it was a plane or fireworks, it was unusually large and close! Very awesome!

My husband and I saw what

My husband and I saw what appeared to be a huge green fireball falling straight down behind the mountains from Cathedral City, CA. Truly incredible to see!

I saw this beautiful greenish fire ball fall out of the sky!

It was big not your usual shooting star ! It was majestic and greenish looking . I was making a left turn on broadway and alvernon when I looked up and noticed it .

Green falling star with orange trail was so close

Anyone else see this big beautiful falling star near Harrisburg PA late evening on Nov 11,2017? I thought it had landed a block away from me. Bright green ball with a nice size orange tail. No sound.

Green falling star with orange trail was so close

Anyone else see this big beautiful falling star near Harrisburg PA late evening on Nov 11,2017? I thought it had landed a block away from me. Bright green ball with a nice size orange tail. No sound.

Saw a huge meteor or astroid

I saw a huge fireball Friday night. It had a tail on it and it was so big I thought the Earth was going to end! Then it disappears like in mid air! Them on the distance a huge aircraft was hovering with three blinking red lights. The aircraft didn't move! I could not believe what was happening. Did our government zap an astroid out of the sky?

Fireball siting

9:20 pm Pretty cool just sat down to see a good size fireball with a green tail fall looking over the Chesapeake bay in Cecil county MD

Falling star

It’s 9.48 PM in avondale, AZ, I saw a fireball coming down and then it broke down into two pieces, a tail and then it all fell down super fast.

Shooting star

Just standing outside and something told me look up i saw a couple planes then 2 other things that i thought were planes but turned out they were not moving then just lookimg around no more planes came by but saw a very bright shooting star it had a bright orange yellow tail i was shocked just happened at about 9:20 pm here on the coast of new hamshire

Shooting Stars October 16 2017

I saw two shooting stars this morning. Came from SE to NNW between Cassiopeia and Ursa Major. Illinois, just SW of Chicago. My 2nd and 3rd sightings this year!

GREEN SHOOTING STARS, ONTARIO CA

Saw a low flying East-West GREEN Shooting Star on Sept. 6, 2017 over Ontario, CA. THEN on October 4, 2017 saw the same exact GREEN Falling Star, this time it was traveling straight down and disappeared just before hitting the ground. I've seen many shooting g stars but never GREEN.

Shooting stars

I live north of Boston and saw 3 shooting stars between 2:00am and 2:45. One was quite bright and beautiful. It fell downward. The other 2 went across the sky and were not as bright. Are they different types because of the way they fall

Fireball?

Did any1 see the bright light across north county san diego calif. Area tonight around 10:55 -11:00 pm.9-23-2017.it lasted for a good minute to the point where i questioned what it was.freaked out a dozen teenagers in the neighborhood
It was almost like a rocket but there was no gas plume afterwards.it looked to be ascending.

Fireball?

Now getting info it was seen from portland oregon to san diego ca.all claiming 60 + sec duration at an amazing -22 mag. Amazing

Lights with trailing tails

The first time I saw one of these was at a Sundance in 1998. The pair I saw were coming out of the woods and then turned to my right flying across the grass. When coming out of the woods they were as bright as large flashlight beams which is what I thought they were. But when they turned and flew to my right, I could see the most beautiful trailing rainbow tails!! Over time I've been visited by these lights. They are Angels of Light, and they are being seen more and more these days, I think to let us know they are here during these tramatic times.

Fireball 8/26/2017

Did anyone else see the fireball with a tail over Utah on 8/26/2017 at about 9:45 pm? It only lasted about 3 seconds.

Bright Light With a Tail

Tonight I was driving from Pittsburgh to Maryland and I saw right in front of me a large ball of light with a long bright tail following it. It wasn't shooting like a star. I was traveling on the highway and there were several cars around me and I believe we all saw this because we all slowed down in awe as it traveled through the night sky towards earth. It was such a brilliant and radiant light. I feel kind of blessed.

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