This Sunday night, July 29, will bring not just one, but two meteor showers.
Both the Delta Aquarids and the Alpha Capricornids reach their traditional peak at the end of July.
The Delta Aquarid meteor shower is a southern shower that is visible from about July 14 until August 18 each year, with maximum activity on the evening of July 29.
At that time, viewers can observe 15-20 meteors per hour. The radiant — or apparent source — of this shower is in the constellation Aquarius, near the star Delta Aquarii. Look low in the eastern sky.
The Alpha Capricornids take place from July 15 until August 10, also peaking on the 29th. Meteors appear to originate from the constellation Capricorn, also low in the eastern sky (Capricorn lies right next to Aquarius). Output for this shower generally averages about 10 per hour.
Unfortunately, 2012 is expected to be an unfavorable year for both of these showers due to a bright waxing gibbous Moon that night. The light from the Moon means the sky won’t be very dark, making it difficult to spot the fireballs. The Moon sets around midnight, though, making the pre-dawn hours an excellent time to enjoy these two showers. If you don’t manage to make it out on Sunday night, you can still see plenty activity in day days before and after peak. Even with less-than-ideal conditions, these two showers generally combine to put on one heck of a good show.