When is the next meteor shower?

Enjoy watching the meteors? Below is a general annual timetable of when about you can expect to see them in the night sky over the UK.

Orionids due 21st-22nd October 2020

The Orionid meteor shower is one of the best known and most reliable meteor showers in the annual calendar, visible from across the globe.

Some people view the shower as extra special as the meteors are actually pieces of Comet 1P/Halley, famously known as Halley’s comet. The famous comet swings by the earth only once every 75 – 76 years but this annual shower provides some compensation for those who may miss that once in a lifetime event. 

As the comet follows its path around the sun, it leaves a path of tiny debris. The cometary debris enters our planet’s atmosphere at speeds of around 41 miles per second, vaporising from friction with the air causing the streaks of light we call meteors. 

Meteor shower dates 2020

Shower NameDate of MaximumNormal LimitsRate/HourDescription
Quadrantids3-4 January28 Dec-12 Jan120Blue meteors with fine trains
Lyrids21-22 April13-29 April18Bright fast meteors, some with trains. Associated with Comet Thatcher
Eta Aquariids5-6 May18 Apr-27 May35Low in sky. Associated with Comet Halley
Delta Aquariids 29-30 July11 July – 22 Aug20Steady stream of meteors over several days but a low rate per hour
Alpha Capricornids29-30 July2 July -14 Aug5Yellow slow fireballs
Perseids12-13 August16 July – 23 Aug100Many bright fast meteors with trains. Associated with Comet Swift-Tuttle (1737, 1862, 1992)
Draconids8-9 October5-9 October~10Associated with Comet 21/P Giacobini-Zimmer
Orionids21-22 October1 Oct – 6 Nov25Fast with fine trains. Associated with Comet Halley

Southern: 9-10 Oct

Northern: 10-11 Nov

Southern: 10 Sep – 20 Nov

Northern: 19 Oct – 9 Dec

10Very slow meteors
Leonids17-18 November5-29 November15Fast bright meteors with fine trains. Associated with Comet Tempel-Tuttle
Geminids14-15 December4-17 December100+Plenty of bright meteors, few trains
Ursids21-22 December16-25 December<10Sparse shower. Associated with comet 8P/Tuttle