Meteor Shower to Light Up the Night Sky Thursday and Friday
Posted: Jul 28, 2016 2:53 PM CDT
(CNN)The night sky is lighting up this summer.
The season's first big meteor shower, the Delta Aquarids, peaks this week with the brightest streaks of light crossing our skies Thursday and Friday.
This meteor shower is best seen north of the equator, and should be visible to those in North America. Peak times to watch are late in the evening and during predawn hours, weather and cloud coverage permitting.
If you're planning on watching the event, keep in mind these "shooting stars" may be faint to the naked eye and lack the fireball effect that we normally associated with major meteor showers.
The Delta Aquarids typically shoots off 15 to 20 meteors per hour, which is a bit fewer than other meteor showers. Although the strength of these meteors might vary in brightness, viewers have a good chance of spotting a shooting star or two during the Delta Aquarids' peak and even the week before and after.
There's been a bit of a drought when it comes to meteor showers this summer, with the last onehappening in May. The Delta Aquarids will be a prelude to some of this season's brightest celestial activity. To make this annual meteor shower more fun for stargazers, here are some tipsfor observing the light show this week.
Stargazers should look towards the Aquarius constellation during the evenings to spot meteors. The Delta Aquarids get their name from the Delta Aquarii, a star in the Aquarius constellation. During the celestial event, meteors will fan out in all directions, but they will streak from the radiant, the center of the constellation, according to Sky and Telescope.
Meteor showers can be a rare sight for city dwellers, especially with the dramatic increase of light population in urban areas. In order to see shooting stars nowadays, you need to make an effort to escape artificial city lights. National parks, wilderness and rural areas are some of the best places to find dark skies.
In a world where everyone has a mobile device in their pocket, it might be surprising to hear that iPhones are not ideal for astrophotography. The key to a good meteor shower photo is a long exposure, which you can get from a DSLR and other cameras. However, if you only have a smartphone you can try holding it up to a telescope eyepiece to take a crisper image.