Meteor Showers

Meteor Showers

Meteor showers are cyclical, predictable events because they are formed from the icy rock debris shed by comets as they pass the Sun. The following sites explain why they happen, when they occur, and offer tips on how to best view them.

Meteor Showers Resource Handout for Classroom or Homeschool: Just $2.00

American Meteor Society: Meteor Shower Basics5 stars

"From earliest times, humankind has noticed flurries of meteors that seemed to emanate from points in the sky at particular times of the year. These flurries, now called meteor showers, are produced by small fragments of cosmic debris entering the earth's atmosphere at extremely high speed." Visit the AMS site for Meteor FAQs, Photos, Videos, a Meteor Shower Calendar, and this introductory article.

Meteor Showers Online4 stars

In recognition of his extensive comet research, Gary Kronk has been honored by the International Astronomical Union with a minor planet named after him . His Meteor Showers Online site covers all the basics, with sections on How to Watch Meteors and a Meteor Shower Calendar. "The beauty of observing meteors is that it is the one branch of astronomy that requires virtually no equipment, or at least no expensive optical equipment. The optical equipment you will use are your eyes and the only other equipment you really need is a reclining chair."

Sky & Telescope: Meteors: A Primer5 stars

"Shower meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, but their direction of motion is away from the constellation whose name the shower bears. This apparent point of origin is known as the radiant." For more meteor facts and viewing tips, click on the Meteors category link at the bottom of this article.

StarDate: Meteor Showers and Viewing Tips5 stars

The most popular meteor question online is, "When is the next meteor shower?" StarDate answers this question with a calendar of seven annual meteor showers that include the peak of the shower (for the lower forty-eight states) and the moon phase. Since bright moonlight makes meteor viewing difficult, your best viewing is going to be when the moon is new or crescent. The next meteor shower is the Perseids on August 12, 2014, but the moon will out most of the night.

UT Knoxville: Astronomy 161: Meteors and Meteor Showers4 stars

These illustrated class notes from the introductory astronomy class University of Texas at Knoxville are a great resource. This meteor page defines important concepts, and covers a brief history of meteor science. Some of the linked resources are long gone, and the calendar is no longer current, but be sure to watch the short video clips. "The meteor shower is commonly named after the constellation in which this radiant is found, and occurs annually during a well-defined time period."

Meteor Showers Resource Handout for Classroom or Homeschool: Just $2.00

Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

The Basics of Meteor Observing

EarthSky’s Meteor Shower Guide for 2014

Meteor Showers and Shooting Stars: Formation, Facts and Discovery

Meteor Storms (Leonids)

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Meteor Showers." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 15 Jul. 2014. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. < >.

About This Page

By . Originally published July 15, 2014. Last modified December 26, 2014.

Meteor Showers (True Books: Space)
Meteor Showers (True Books: Space)
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David Levy s Guide to Observing Meteor Showers
David Levy's Guide to Observing Meteor Showers
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National Geographic Readers: Meteors
National Geographic Readers: Meteors
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