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The Meteor Shower Calendar 2022 : Upcoming Beautiful Meteor Showers

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Meteor shower
Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

What Is the Difference Between Meteoroids, Meteors, and Meteorites?

Before we go to the meteor shower calendar let us first understand what distinguishes asteroids, meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites? Also, how do you locate a meteorite? Meteorites that collide with the Earth are the best alternative to space missions. Instead of the other way around, extraterrestrial material comes to us!

Simply put, asteroids, meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites are all types of “space rocks.”

Asteroids are the largest rocks. Consider asteroids to be minor planets that, like Earth, orbit the Sun. These asteroids degrade into smaller rock particles known as meteoroids over time. Meteoroids also orbit our Sun. When one of these meteoroids enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes, it is referred to as a meteor, also known as a “shooting star.”

The meteor heats up, causing the air around it to glow. We notice a light streak. Scientists believe that up to 10,000 tones of meteors fall on Earth each day, but the vast majority are no larger than a speck of dust.
Most meteors burn up completely in the Earth’s atmosphere, but a meteorite is one that survives its passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and lands on the planet’s surface. Meteorites range in size from small pebbles to massive boulders.

Some planets and moons lack sufficient atmosphere to protect them from meteor and asteroid impacts. These collisions have left round impact craters on Earth’s moon, Mercury, and even Mars.

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What is a Meteorite?


Hundreds of small meteorites fall to Earth every day. “Falls” are those that can be seen falling. “Finds” are those that are discovered on the ground.

Meteorites are of great interest to scientists because studying them helps us understand how the solar system formed and evolved.

Meteorites are distinguished by their dark, frequently scalloped exterior. They are typically denser than ‘normal’ rocks and are frequently attracted to magnets. If you find them, put them in a clean plastic bag or wrap them in aluminum foil. Meteorites should also be handled with care to preserve their scientific value.

A meteorite, according to NASA, is a space rock that enters the Earth’s atmosphere and survives the journey to the surface. The term meteorite is frequently confused with related terms such as meteor and meteoroid:

Meteoroid: a comet or an asteroid with a diameter ranging from centimeters to meters that orbits in space. It is the name given to a meteorite that has not yet collided with the atmosphere.
Meteor: occurs when a meteoroid passes through the atmosphere, burning and disintegrating, and is then classified as a meteorite. When a light trail persists, it produces what are known as shooting stars.

What is a Meteor?

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Photo by Austin Human on Unsplash

Shooting stars in the night sky occur when debris from outer space enters our atmosphere. As this debris passes through Earth’s atmosphere, it exerts energy in the form of heat and light, allowing observers to see a beautiful streak of light through the sky. This process is very fast and typically lasts a matter of seconds or even fractions of a second. The burning debris is known as meteors, which come from meteoroids from space.

Meteors are so common that millions of them pass through the atmosphere each day. However, most of these appear over vast bodies of water or during daylight hours, so they are not seen often. Meteors also are typically very small, ranging in the size of a pebble to a baseball, and most of them burn up rapidly in the atmosphere before even impacting the Earth’s surface.

Courtesy Earthobservatory

What is a Meteoroid?

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Meteoroids. Photo: Emaze.

A meteoroid is a piece of space debris that orbits the sun. Small pieces of rock or iron left over from the formation of a solar system constitute the debris. Asteroid collisions or comet debris can also cause them.

Asteroid is defined as any rocky or iron space debris larger than 1 cubic meter; thus, if a meteoroid is larger than 1 cubic meter, it is classified as an asteroid. As previously stated, most meteoroids are extremely small. They can even resemble dust. A comet is a frozen gas and rock mixture. These frozen gases hold the rocks together.

They begin to melt as they pass the sun during their orbit, causing pieces of the rock, or meteoroids, to break off into space. When this happens, multiple meteoroids can collide with Earth at the same time, resulting in a meteor shower. A meteor shower is a hailing of meteors in the Earth’s atmosphere during which many meteors can be seen in a short period of time.

The sun is orbited by meteoroids, asteroids, and comets. However, asteroids can collide with one another, sending fragments out of orbit and towards other planets or moons. Many meteoroids that are projected towards the Earth’s surface are intercepted by its atmosphere. Other planets and moons, on the other hand, lack atmospheres that, like Earth’s, burn most debris before impact. When a meteoroid collides with a moon or planet, it can leave a crater or dent on the surface. The Earth’s moon’s surface appears uneven and imperfect due to its cratering.

The Meteor Showers

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Credit – David Kingham

When the Earth passes through clouds of particles left by asteroids, we see meteor showers, also known as shooting stars (or, comets).

A meteor shower appears to come from a single point in the sky, known as the “radiant.” Meteors seen near the radiant will appear as short streaks in the sky as they approach the observer. Meteors seen 45 to 135 degrees from the radiant, on the other hand, are moving in a more parallel direction to the observer. These meteors will leave longer streaks of light in the sky.

Meteor showers are usually named after the constellation in which their radiant is located at the peak of the shower. As a result, the Leonid meteor shower (which will peak around November 18) will appear to radiate from the constellation Leo.

The showers are predictable because the Earth’s orbit is nearly the same from year to year. Most meteors will be visible on a clear, dark night during a new Moon. If you live near a city with bright lights, drive away from the lights and toward the constellation from which the meteors appear to radiate.

To see the most meteors, stay up as late as possible at night, until dawn. To see a meteor shower, the radiant must be above the horizon most radiants are visible by midnight.

Take a seat on the grass and look up: The majority of meteor showers are extremely fast! They pass in a fraction of a second or less.

The Meteor Shower Calendar

Shower NameDate Of MaximumPoint Of OriginHourly Rate
Draconids8-9 OctoberNW10
Orionids21-2 OctoberS25
Northern TauridSouthern: 10-11 Oct
Northern: 12-13 Nov
Leonid17-18 NovemberS10
Andromedid25–27 NovemberS5
Geminid14-15 DecemberNE150
Ursid22-23 DecemberN10

Draconid Meteor Shower


The Draconid meteor shower, which occurs in October in the Northern Hemisphere, is a less active meteor shower. The Draconid meteor shower will peak around 8-9 October 2022, and will be best seen in the evening.

Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through a cloud of cometary debris. The Draconid meteor shower is caused by the debris of comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner in this case. The rate of meteors during the shower’s peak is determined by which part of the comet’s trail the Earth orbit intersects each year. The Draconids have not produced any notable bursts of activity in recent years. However, between 1933 and 1946, the Draconids put on some of the most active displays of the twentieth century.


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CourtesyRoyal Museum Greenwich
  • Particles as small as a grain of sand can cause the beautiful streaks we see in the night sky!
  • If you trace the meteors’ path, they appear to originate from a point in the constellation Draco – hence the name.
  • Because the shower’s radiant point in the Draco constellation is highest in the sky at nightfall, the Draconids are most visible in the evening.
  • The Draconids are also known as the Giacobinids, after Michel Giacobini, who discovered the comet 21 P/Giacobini-Zinner, which is the source of the meteors.

Orionid Meteor Shower

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CourtesyThe Planets

One of the most well-known and consistent meteor showers on the yearly calendar, the Orionids are visible from all over the world.

The Orionid meteor shower will peak in 2022 on October 21–22 between dawn and dusk. The shower should, however, be visible if you look for it for a few days either side of this “maximum” date.

Some consider the Orionids to be extra special because the meteors are actually fragments of Comet 1P/Halley, also known as Halley’s comet. The comet only passes by the Earth once every 75 to 76 years, but this annual shower compensates for those who may miss that once-in-a-lifetime event.

As the comet orbits the sun, it leaves a trail of tiny debris in its wake. Cometary debris enters our planet’s atmosphere at speeds of around 41 miles per second, vaporizing due to friction with the air and producing the light streaks we call meteors.


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CourtesyRoyal Museum Greenwich
  • The meteors appear to come from a point in the constellation of Orion if you follow their trajectory, thus the name.
  • The stunning streaks we observe in the night sky can be brought on by sand grain-sized particles!
  • Approximately 41 miles per second is the speed at which the cometary debris enters the atmosphere of our planet.

Taurid Meteor Shower

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The annual late October through early November meteor shower known as the Taurids is slow and persistent. The Taurids do not occur frequently, even at their peak, but they do occasionally over the course of the two months. Between 10 and 11 October in the Southern Hemisphere and 12 and 13 November in the Northern Hemisphere in 2022, the Taurid meteor shower will reach its peak.

When the Earth passes through a cloud of cometary debris, meteor showers are produced. The Earth’s collision with Comet Encke’s debris in this instance is what triggers the Taurid meteor shower.

The Earth takes a long time to pass through the comet stream because it is so widely dispersed and dispersed.

Additionally, it explains why the South Taurids (10 September–20 November) and the North Taurids are two distinct parts of the shower (20 October – 10 December). The North and South Taurids are two pieces of the same debris cloud, and since their densities are comparable, so are their peaks.


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CourtesyRoyal Museum Greenwich
  • If you trace the meteors’ path, they appear to originate from a point in the constellation Taurus, hence the name.
  • They are also known as Halloween fireballs due to their occurrence in late October and early November.
  • Encke and the Taurids are thought to be the remains of a much larger comet that disintegrated 20,000 to 30,000 years ago.
  • The Taurids are a slow shower that moves across the sky at about 17 miles per second, or 65,000 miles per hour.

Leonid Meteor Shower

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The Leonids are one of the more active annual meteor showers, producing fast, bright meteors. The Leonid meteor shower will peak in 2022 on November 17-18, between midnight and dawn. The Leonid meteor shower is named after Comet Tempel-Tuttle. The radiant (the point from which meteors appear to stream) is located at the head or ‘sickle’ of the constellation Leo the Lion, thus the name.

As the comet orbits the sun, it leaves a trail of tiny debris in its wake. Cometary debris enters our planet’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 70 kilometers per second, vaporizing and producing the light streaks we call meteors.


CourtesyRoyal Museum Greenwich
  • If you trace the meteors’ path, they appear to originate from a point in the constellation Leo, hence the name.
  • Particles as small as a grain of sand can cause the beautiful streaks we see in the night sky!
  • Cometary debris can reach speeds of up to 70 kilometers per second as it enters our planet’s atmosphere.

Geminid meteor shower

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Meteors are pieces of debris that enter our planet’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 70 kilometers per second, vaporizing and producing the light streaks we call meteors.
The Geminid meteor shower’s meteors are very bright, moderately fast, and unusual in that they are multi-colored – mostly white, some yellow, and a few green, red, and blue. These colors are caused in part by the presence of traces of metals such as sodium and calcium, the same effect that is used to color fireworks.

At its peak, the shower has been known to produce over 100 meteors per hour, though light pollution and other factors mean that the actual number visible is far lower.


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CourtesyRoyal Museum Greenwich
  • The Geminids, along with the Quadrantids, are the only major meteor showers that do not originate from a comet.
  • Particles as small as a grain of sand can cause the beautiful streaks we see in the night sky!
  • The Geminids were discovered in 1862, much later than other showers such as the Perseids and Leonids.
  • Every year, the Geminids are thought to become more intense.

Ursid meteor shower

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At its peak, the Ursid meteor shower produces approximately five meteors per hour. The Ursid meteor shower will peak in 2022 on December 22-23. Meteors are pieces of debris that enter our planet’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 70 kilometres per second, vaporising and producing the light streaks we call meteors.

Ursid meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor’s Beta Ursae Minoris (Kochab). The shooting stars, however, are caused by a stream of debris left behind by comet 8P/Tuttle.

Ursa Minor

Ursa Minor
CourtesyRoyal Museum Greenwich
  • Ursa Minor, also known as the Little Bear, is the 56th largest constellation in the sky and is located in the northern sky. Ursa Major, the Great Bear’s larger neighbour, represents the constellation.
  • Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer, was the first to catalogue Ursa Minor in the second century. It is a simple constellation to recognise because of the Little Dipper asterism. Polaris, the North Pole Star, is located at the end of the dipper’s handle and marks the location of the celestial north pole.

Tips for Observing Meteor Showers

The most frequently asked question is, “Where can I see the meteor showers?” The correct answer is: ANYWHERE in the sky! Meteors can appear anywhere during a meteor shower, not just near their radiant. (The radiant is the point in the sky where the paths of meteors in a meteor shower appear to originate from Earth’s perspective. The radiant for the Perseids meteor shower, for example, is in the constellation Perseus; the Leonids are in the constellation Leo.) Several major meteor showers can be seen in both Hemispheres, but others may be better seen in one or the other, depending on how far above or below the horizon the radiant is located.

The Ursids, for example, can only be seen in the Northern Hemisphere because the radiant is too far north of the equator to be visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

Because Gemini appears only an hour or two after nightfall, the Geminid meteor shower is visible all night; the radiant is highest just after midnight.

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