The positions listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning July 13/14. The positions do not change greatly day to day so these positions may be used during this entire period. Most star atlas's (available at science stores and libraries) will provide maps with grid lines of the celestial coordinates so that you may find out exactly where these positions are located in the sky. A planisphere or computer planetarium program is also useful in showing which constellations are in the sky at any time of night on any date of the year. Activity from each radiant is best seen when it is positioned highest in the sky, either due north or south along the meridian, depending on your location. Meteor activity is not seen from radiants that are located below the horizon. The radiants below are listed in a west to east manner in order of right ascension (celestial longitude). The radiants listed first are located further west therefore are accessible earlier in the night. This list also provides the order of ascending velocity for each radiant with those listed first usually being much slower than those last on the list. Velocity should not be the prime factor for shower association as all showers can produce slow meteors. Slow meteors can be produced from normally swift showers, such as the Leonids, when meteors appear near the radiant or close to the horizon. The true velocity is only revealed in shower members seen far from the radiant and high in the sky.
The activity from the Theta Ophiuchids is winding down and will soon cease. A few shower members may still be seen from a radiant located at 17:48 (267) -09. This area of the sky is located in southwestern Ophiuchus very close to the 3rd magnitude star Nu Ophiuchi. This area of the sky is best placed near 2300 LDT (11pm local daylight time) when the radiant lies on the meridian and highest in the sky. At 27 km/sec. the Theta Ophiuchids are slow compared to most other showers.
The Alpha Capricornid activity is just now beginning from a radiant located at 19:32 (293) -14. The area of the sky is located in a remote area of northeastern Sagittarius. This position is close to the antihelion radiant and unless you plot the meteors you see, these meteors will be indistinguishable from one another. The velocity of the Alpha Caps is 25 km/sec., which is slightly slower than the antihelion radiant. The radiant is best placed near 0100 local daylight time when it lies on the meridian. The Alpha Caps are known for their brightly colored fireballs which increase in frequency as we approach the July 29 maximum for this shower.The Alpha Cygnids are listed as the Psi Cygnids in the list of radiants published by the Dutch Meteor Society. No matter what you call them they are often overlooked by the many other better known radiants active at this time. This radiant was well represented in the studies coordinated by Dr. Peter Jenniskens between 1980 and 1991. Their studies indicate a ZHR near 3 at maximum activity on July 18. The radiant position is currently located at 20:12 (303) +47. This position is located in central Cygnus, 5 degrees west of the bright star Deneb (Alpha Cygni). With an entry velocity of 37 km/sec. these meteors are of average velocity. The radiant is best placed near 0200 LDT when it lies nearly overhead for much of the Northern Hemisphere. Due to its high northern declination this activity is not well seen from the Southern Hemisphere.
The Antihelion radiant is now located at 20:24 (306) -18. This area of the sky is located in western Capricornus near the faint grouping of stars known as Rho, Pi and Omicron Capricorni. Any slow to medium speed meteor from western Capricornus or eastern Sagittarius could be a candidate for this shower. The radiant is best placed near 0200 local daylight time when it lies on the meridian and is highest in the sky. At this time expect to see 1 shower member per hour from locations north of the equator and 2 an hour from areas south of the equator.
Unlike most of the annual showers the antihelion radiant is produced by debris from unknown sources orbiting in a direct motion like the earth. These sources are most likely asteroids, which produce stony and metallic debris whose density is much greater than material produced by comets. This debris collides with the earth on the inbound portion of its orbit, before its closest approach to the sun. Therefore we best see them just after midnight when we are facing the direction from which this activity appears. The antihelion radiant is active all year from an area of the sky nearly opposite that of the sun. The radiant will travel approximately one degree eastward per day and travels through many different constellations over the course of a year. It is easiest to simply list these meteors as "ANT" but a majority of meteor organizations prefer that you list them from the constellation in which the radiant is currently located or the constellation where the shower reaches maximum activity. Those who share reports with the I.M.O. should label these meteors as Sagittarids (SAG).
The North Delta Aquarids reach a ZHR of 1 on July 15. The date of maximum activity is not until August 8 so this low rate of activity will prevail throughout most of July. The radiant is currently located at 21:04 (316) -10. This area of the sky is located in southwestern Aquarius 2 degrees northwest of the 4th magnitude star Nu Aquarii. Like the Alpha Caps, this radiant lies within the boundaries of the antihelion radiant area. At 42 km/sec. the NDA's are noticeably faster than the antihelion meteors. This radiant is most active between 0200 and 0300 LDT when it lies highest in the southern sky. Like many of the radiants active this time of year the NDA's are better seen from areas south of the northern tropics or 30 degrees north latitude.
The South Delta Aquarids radiant provides the strongest activity in July. This radiant peaks in strength on July 27 with an average ZHR of 20. At this time rates are only 1-2 per hour but this will quickly rise as we approach late July. The current radiant position lies at 21:56 (329) -19. This area of the sky is located on the Aquarius/Capricornus border 4 degrees southeast of the 3rd magnitude star Nashira (Delta Capricorni). The radiant lies low in the southeast at dusk and is not well seen until it approaches the meridian near 0300 LDT. These meteor encounter the earth at a speed of 41 km/sec. which is a bit faster than average. These meteors are best seen from the Southern Hemisphere where the radiant passes high overhead. At this early date in July, observers in high northern latitudes will be lucky to see any activity at all.The Pisces Austrinids are also just now coming to life with a current ZHR of 1. Don't expect to see 1 an hour unless you live near 30 degrees south latitude where the radiant passes high overhead between the hours of 0200 and 0300 LDT. The current radiant position lies at 22:00 (330) -34 which places it in southern Pisces Austrinus 1 degree southwest of the 4th magnitude star Mu Piscis Austrini. These meteors are of average velocity, slower than the Aquarids but faster than the Alpha Caps and the antihelion meteors.
The Pegasids reached maximum activity
on July 9 with an estimated ZHR of 3. Activity is rapidly dwindling so don't
expect to see any activity past this weekend. The current radiant position
lies at 22:56 (344) +16. This area of the sky lies in central Pegasus only
1 degree west of the 2nd magnitude star Mirfak (Alpha Pegasi).
This area of the sky is best placed for viewing during the last dark hour
before dawn when it lies highest in the sky.
At 70km/sec. the majority of Pegasids will appear quite swift.
The Northern Apex radiant is now located at 01:24 (021) +24. This position lies in northern Pisces 3 degrees east of the 4th magnitude star Psi Piscium . This area of the sky is best placed for viewing during the last dark hour before dawn. Since this radiant is diffuse any meteors from northern Pisces, western Aries or southwestern Andromeda could be a good candidate for this shower. This source should provide at least 2 meteors per hour for those in the Northern Hemisphere and 1 per hour for those in the Southern Hemisphere.
Like the antihelion radiant both apex radiants are active all year long and travel approximately one degree eastward per day. Unlike the antihelion debris these particles orbit the sun in a retrograde motion opposite that of the earth and are most likely produced by unknown comets. They strike the earth after their closest approach to the sun. Since they are moving in opposite directions these particles strike the earth at tremendous velocities often creating bright meteors with persistent trains. These particles strike the earth on the morning side of earth and are best seen just before morning twilight while the sky is still perfectly dark. There are meteors with a zero inclination that radiate precisely from the apex point on the ecliptic, exactly 90 degrees west of the sun. These meteors are rare though as the earth orbits the sun it "sweeps clean" much of the material that shares the same orbit. Much more debris is located just north and south of the earth's orbit with slightly higher or lower inclinations. This creates the northern and southern branches of the apex activity. Meteors from both branches are normally included in the sporadic count but should also be noted in some manner as to which branch of the apex complex they appear to radiate.
The Southern Apex source lies exactly 30 degrees south of its northern counterpart at 01:24 (021) -06 . This position lies in central Cetus 3 degrees north of the 4th magnitude star Tau Ceti. Like the northern apex these meteors are best seen toward dawn when the radiant lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Any meteor from central or northern Cetus could be a candidate from this source. Rates would be now close to 2 per hour regardless of your location.
The July Phoenicids peak on July 13
from a radiant located at 02:08 (032) -48. This area of the sky is located
in western Phoenix some 3 degrees west of the 4th magnitude star Chi Eridani.
This area of the sky is best placed for
viewing during the last dark hour before dawn. Due to the extreme southern
declination (celestial latitude) this shower is not well seen north of the
Northern Tropics. The further south one is located the better opportunity
that shower members may be seen. At 47 km/sec. these meteors would be a
bit faster than your average meteor. Rates
are extremely variable for this shower. Some years produce no activity at
all while others see notable activity. Data is urgently needed for this shower
so southern observers are strongly encourage to watch for any activity from
The Sporadic rates for the Northern Hemisphere are now increasing. One would expect to see perhaps 5 random meteors per hour during the last hours before dawn from rural observing sites. This estimate and the morning estimate for the Southern Hemisphere does not include the apex meteors listed above. During the evening hours perhaps 2 random meteors can be seen per hour from the Northern Hemisphere. Rates seen from the Southern Hemisphere are still slightly better than those seen in the north with perhaps 6 random meteors being seen during the late morning hours and 3 per hour during the evening.