When will you see shooting stars this year?
Of all the celestial wonders the night sky has to offer, shooting stars are among the most magical.
To help you experience more everyday magic in 2024, we’ve compiled the following list of meteor showers that will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere this year, according to the American Meteor Society. We suggest marking the peak dates on your calendar, or even using them as inspiration to plan a trip to one of Michigan’s dark sky parks.
Meteors, commonly called shooting stars, are streaks of light in the sky that are created when meteors — parts of asteroids or comets — come into contact with Earth’s atmosphere. Meteor showers typically occur when Earth passes through a large collection of these space fragments, and the “peak” of the shower occurs when our planet is expected to encounter the largest number of them.
In the Northern Hemisphere we see approximately a dozen meteor showers each year, each with its own peak nights where a viewer may see between five and 10 meteors per hour on the low end, to more than 100 meteors per hour.
First, some tips for watching meteor showers:
Look for the darkest skies possible, away from bright urban environments; Countryside areas and designated dark sky parks provide the best viewing. Dress for the weather and choose a safe viewing location under a large area of sky. Lie down on a blanket or reclining camp chair, take in as much of the sky as possible, and be patient: it takes our eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness to see most meteors.
Of course, you’ll also need to note the weather and moon phase, as they are important factors in determining how many meteors may be visible in any given year.
Here are the meteor showers that await us in 2024:
Now – January 16: Quartets. The first meteor shower of the year is also the last for several months. The Quadrantid peaked on January 3-4 of this year, but there is still the potential for occasional meteors and even fireballs until the meteor shower ends mid-month.
April 15-29: HarpsThis spring meteor shower is considered moderate in strength, with typically good rates for three nights centered around maximum activity. Lyre meteorites lack fixed trains but can produce fireballs. This year’s peak falls on the night of April 21-22, although a nearly full moon will interfere with visibility.
April 15 – May 27: ETA amniotes: This meteor shower, one of two created by debris left behind by Halley’s famous Comet, favors the Southern Hemisphere but can sometimes be seen north if you watch low on the horizon. According to the AMS, this shower could be very powerful this year due to low interference from moonlight, as well as interactions of the shower’s particles with Jupiter. Peak Night: May 4-5.
July 18 – August. 21: Buckeyes south of the Delta. Another meteor shower favors the Southern Hemisphere; The best bet for northern viewers is to look low along the southern horizon. This shower could produce good rates for a week centered around the night of the maximum, which this year falls on July 29-30.
July 7 – August. 15: Alpha Capricorn. Although it is considered a relatively weak meteor shower, with only five or fewer meteors falling per hour, this shower is noteworthy for its bright fireballs. Peak night: July 30-31.
July 14 – September. 1: Perseids. The summer’s most famous meteor shower is beloved for its bright meteors that light up the sky on warm August nights, with 50 to 75 meteors per hour likely to fall under clear, dark skies. Peak Night: August 11-12.
September 26-November. 22: Orionides. Orionid meteor showers are usually of moderate intensity, with a maximum number of 10-20 meteors per hour. But in special years, this meteor shower can produce a spectacle on par with the Perseids. Unfortunately, moonlight will reduce the number of views this year during peak nighttime, October 20-21.
September 23 – December. 8: Supplies. The Taurids are actually composed of two long-duration meteor showers: the southern Taurids and the slightly later northern Taurids, which overlap by more than a month. Although meteor rates are generally low, Taurids are known for producing spectacular fireballs, making these meteor showers worth seeing. Peak nights: November 4-5 and November 11-12.
November. 3-December. 2: Leonides. The holiday season begins with the famous Leonids, known for their history-making meteor storms in which hourly meteor rates can reach the thousands. Even during typical years of up to 15 meteors per hour, spotting these bright, fast meteors is fun. Unfortunately, moonlight will spoil the best viewing during the year’s maximum activity. Peak Night: November 17-18.
November 19 to December 24: Jiminides. The Geminids meteor shower is known by experienced stargazers to be one of the most powerful displays of the year, producing beautiful meteors at rates of up to 120 meteors per hour under ideal viewing conditions. This year’s full moon will significantly reduce the number of visible meteors, but the AMS says you can still see meteors by facing the sky with the moon at your back. Peak Night: December 13-14.
December 13-December 24: Ursides. The often overlooked Ursids can add a little extra sparkle to the holidays, as these meteor showers typically peak near the winter solstice and Christmas. Expect modest rates of between 5-10 meteors per hour. Peak night: December 21-22.