Watching a meteor shower is one of the most extraordinary events you can experience in your lifetime, and 2022’s shower season is just getting started! Here are all of the remaining showers you can view this year and everything you’ll need to view them!
Where's the Best Place to Watch a Meteor Shower?
What Gear Do You Need to Watch Meteor Showers?
When Are the 2022 Meteor Showers?
The Lyrids: April 21--22
The Eta Aquarids: May 4--5
The Delta Aquarids: July 28--29
The Perseids: August 11--13
The Draconids: October 8--10
The Orionids: October 20--21
The South and North Taurids: November 5--12
The Leonids: November 16--17
The Geminids: December 13--14
The Ursids: December 21--22
Where’s the Best Place to Watch a Meteor Shower?
You can probably watch most showers from the comfort of your backyard unless you live in a super-dense urban area with lots of light pollution. If that’s the case, you should seek out a super dark locale for optimal viewing (and, honestly, we recommend just doing that to begin with to ensure you can see every last meteor).
There are sites like DarkSiteFinder or the International Dark Sky Places conservation program that provide maps showing you the nearest Dark Sky-certified places that are absolutely perfect for stargazing. These sites are guaranteed to have minimal (if any) light pollution and will give you the best odds of seeing the shower clearly. We recommend finding the nearest Dark Sky site near you, but if there isn’t one nearby, you can still do wonders for yourself by driving to a more rural area and finding a high vantage point, like a hill or mountain.
It’s also worth noting that factors like air pollution, smoke, high humidity rates, and (obviously) cloud cover may affect your ability to see the night sky clearly. These things are largely out of any one person’s control, but you should keep an eye out for these issues wherever you choose to watch a shower from.
Before you head out, we also recommend checking when the shower is set to peak. This is when you can see the most meteors per hour, and we have noted it below for each shower. If you’re planning on making a whole night of the event, this won’t matter much; however, if you’d rather only spend an hour or so outside, this can help you narrow down when to go. You should also note the lunar cycle—not even a dedicated Dark Sky area will mean much if it’s a full moon.
What Gear Do You Need to Watch Meteor Showers?
All you technically need to bring is you and your love of astronomy. However, why not make the experience more pleasant by taking along some creature comforts? Of course, you’ll want to dress warm and bring things like blankets, coffee, snacks, camping chairs, bug spray, and even a DSLR camera or capable smartphone, like the Pixel 6 Pro, if you’re the astrophotography type.
You can also reference astronomy apps during these showers for better orienting yourself in the right direction. They all have a red-eye mode that turns all the text and points of information red for nighttime viewing.
Plan on getting to your viewing destination about 45 minutes before your intended time, as your eyes will need time to properly adjust to the dark (and yes, it will take that long). We also recommend buying a red light headband; these are bright enough to illuminate your area without disrupting your dark-adjusted eyes. It’s also worth noting that, if you go to a Dark Sky location, red lights are usually a requirement. This means no using your smartphone or other bright screens during this time, for the same reason.
When Are the 2022 Meteor Showers?
Even though we’re already a few months into the year, 2022’s meteor shower season is just starting to kick off. There are nine remaining meteor showers we’ll get to see this year, and here’s when you can expect to see them. Be sure to mark your calendar!
The Lyrids: April 21–22
Talk about April showers! This shower is active between April 15–29 and it will peak on April 22 (though the Moon that night will be 67% full). You’ll be able to view this shower anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, and you’ll get the best views around dawn.
Expect 10–15 meteors per hour, with roughly a quarter having persistent trains (ionized gas that glows behind the moving meteor). The radiant point of this shower lies low in the northern skies for viewers in the Southern Hemisphere, who will see fewer meteors than those further north.
The Eta Aquarids: May 4–5
These are active from April 15 to May 27 and will peak the morning of May 5 at dawn (with a waxing crescent Moon). This shower is ideally viewed from the Southern Hemisphere, though folks in the southern United States will have a fair view as well, with roughly 40–60 meteors per hour (though just 10–20 meteors per hour for those in the States). Those living in more northern climes will still have a view but with fewer meteors.
The Delta Aquarids: July 28–29
This long-running shower runs from July 18 through August 21 (it also starts to taper out right when the next shower, the Perseids, starts. Because it’s a lengthier shower, there isn’t a true peak; however, it will be most noticeable on Jul 29 around 2 a.m. local time. Fortunately, the new moon falls on July 28, so the skies should be nice and dark for this one!
Sorry Northern Hemisphere viewers—this is another shower that favors those in the Southern Hemisphere. Those in the southern United States and Central America can still get a fair view. This isn’t the most exciting shower on the list, however, as it will only produce about 15–20 meteors per hour that’ll be faint to begin with. Anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of this shower’s meteors will leave persistent trains, as well.
The Perseids: August 11–13
This is one of the more popular and well-known meteor showers we get to experience. It will be on display in the Northern Hemisphere from July 14 through September 1 and peak on August 13 (best viewed before dawn). However, the moon will be bright that morning, so feel free to enjoy a better view of the Perseids on any late July or early August mornings.
With this one, you’ll be able to see upwards of 90 meteors per hour, and the shower is known for having both persistent trains and a high number of fireballs. The Perseids are a stunning shower with a consistently high quantity of colorful meteors. The shower gains its name as the radiant—the point in the sky from which the meteors seem to appear—is located near the Perseus constellation. Also, fun fact: the particles in this shower were released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle!
The Draconids: October 8–10
This shower is active between October 8–10 and peaks on October 9. This shower is easier to view in the late evening rather than after midnight like most others, as the full moon is at its peak on October 9.
The Draconids shower is a fascinating one. It’s usually lackluster overall—with only a handful of meteors to see per hour—but it can, on rare occasions, rise like its namesake dragon and produce hundreds of fiery meteors in a single hour. It’s for that reason that The Draconids are such a popular shower, despite its common alignment with a full moon.
The Orionids: October 20–21
These are active from September 26 to November 22 and peak on October 21 between midnight and 2 a.m. local time. This shower outputs about 10–20 meteors per hour under a dark sky. A new moon falls on October 25, so if you’re watching the shower during the peak, you’ll still have a slight waning crescent moon to deal with (though it won’t be too bright).
This group of meteors originates from Halley’s comet, which we won’t be able to see again until 2061. The Orionids produce fast-moving meteors; some of them leave persistent trains, and you’ll even see the occasional bright fireball.
The South and North Taurids: November 5–12
The South Taurids shower is active from September 23 to November 12, and the North Taurids are active from October 13-December 2. Neither shower has definitive peaks; the South Taurids will be a little stronger on November 5, while the North Taurids will flex a little harder on November 12.
We recommend watching the showers as they overlap anytime in late October or early November, as there’s no moon then. Both showers independently produce roughly 5 meteors an hour, which means you can expect to see about 10 an hour if you’re watching during overlap season.
These meteors are slower moving than those in other showers, and they can often be quite bright. According to the American Meteor Society, the Taurids are also on a seven-year fireball cycle; the last time they produced fireballs was in 2015, so buckle up—2022 promises to offer one hell of a view!
The Leonids: November 16–17
This shower is active from November 3-December 2 and peaks on November 18 around dawn, local time. The optimal viewing time is just before midnight, though, when the waning crescent moon is at its dimmest.
The Leonids typically produce about 10–15 per hour at most. However, this shower once produced one of the most fantastic meteor storms in recorded history. It presented thousands of meteors per minute during a 15-minute period back in 1966 (man, what would it have been like to see that, huh?). Scientists believe these storms happen in 33-year cycles, though its last occurrence around the turn of the century was lackluster in comparison.
The Geminids: December 13–14
These are active from November 19-December 24 and peak on December 14 between mid-evening on the 13th and 2 a.m. local time. It’s one of the most popular and prolific shows of the year, with approximately 120 visible meteors per hour. The Geminids are exceptionally fantastic when the moon isn’t bright, though it’ll be a blazing waning gibbous moon this year.
The shower also puts on a fairly decent show for those in the Southern Hemisphere. It is believed that the Geminids, along with January’s Quadrantids, were once part of an asteroid (3200 Phaethon) rather than a comet like most other meteor showers.
The Ursids: December 21–22
The last meteor shower of the year is active from December 13–24, and it will peak around December 22, just before dawn. It’s a little more low-key than the Geminids, with just 5–10 visible meteors per hour, but it’s also a nice way to ring in the Winter Solstice on December 21. This shower’s meteors are visible around their namesake constellation—Ursa Minor—and are thought to originate from Comet 8P/Tuttle.