The end of July not only means another summer is flashing by.
It also marks the start of a series of some the best meteor-watching opportunities of the year.
The first, the Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower, will be peaking tonight, Thursday, and Friday night.
Unlike with most meteor showers, these lack a very definitive peak, and can be seen at a fairly consistent, steady rate through mid August.
photos above taken from 2015
The moon will also cooperate, with a waning crescent visible but not too bright in late July and darkening through early August.
As with most meteors, the best viewing time will be after midnight and before dawn. With a dark sky and sharp eye, you should be able to see between 10 to 20 per hour. Considering the light pollution in the Greater Fire Island area, don’t be surprised if you see less.
Between 5 and 10 percent of the Delta Aquarid meteors leave meteor trains — glowing gas trails that last a few seconds after the meteor passes as seen in one of the shots above.
Overlapping the Delta Aquarids will be the Perseid meteor shower, one of the best showers of the year that also favors us in the Northern Hemisphere. These will peak around Aug. 11 and Aug. 12, but are known to build in intensity starting in early August.
Many Astronomers are expecting an outburst of up to 200 meteors per hour this year during the peak Perseid shower. Meteor shower predictions are not an exact science, but the odds are good to see a great show if the weather permits.
Moonlight should not be a problem, as the first quarter moon will be setting at midnight.
Since most of us love the beach in the Greater Fire Island area, why not camp out with friends and keep an eye to the sky?
We will be keeping you up to speed on all the upcoming celestial events.
And our photo contributors will be out there, too, trying to get some great shots!