Arkansas Meteor Showers

The table below lists the best annual meteor showers visible from Arkansas. 

Don’t forget to check the MeteorCam for the latest meteor detections!

Discovery date1820s
Parent body2003 EH1
ConstellationBoötes
Occurs duringDecember 28-January 12
Date of peakJanuary 3
Velocity41 km/s
Zenithal hourly rate120 

General:
The Quadrantids have a relatively narrow peak of as little as four hours, (compared to two days for the August Perseids), which means the stream of particles that produces this shower is narrow, and apparently deriving within the last 500 years. 

The parent body of the Quadrantids was tentatively identified in 2003 by Peter Jenniskens as the minor planet 2003 EH1.

The radiant point of this shower is at the northern edge of the constellation Boötes, not far from the Big Dipper. This meteor shower is best seen in the northern hemisphere, but it can be seen partly to 50 degrees south latitude.
 

The name comes from Quadrans Muralis, a former constellation created in 1795 by the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that is now part of Boötes.

Discovery DateKnown since antiquity
Parent bodyC/1861 G1 (Thatcher)
ConstellationLyra
Occurs duringApril 16 – April 25
Date of peakApril 22
Velocity48  km/s
Zenithal hourly rate18/hr

General:
The Lyrids last from April 16 to April 26 each year and appear to radiate from the constellation Lyra, near this constellation’s brightest star, Alpha Lyrae (proper name Vega). Their peak is typically around April 22 each year.

The source of the meteor shower is particles of dust shed by the long-period Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.  The April Lyrids are the strongest annual shower of meteors from debris of a long-period comet, mainly because as far as other intermediate long-period comets go (200–10,000 years), this one has a relatively short orbital period of about 415 years. The Lyrids have been observed and reported since 687 BC; no other modern shower has been recorded as far back in time. 

The shower usually peaks on around April 22 and the morning of April 23. Counts typically range from 5 to 20 meteors per hour, averaging around 10.

Discovery date1870
Parent bodyHalley’s Comet
ConstellationAquarius (near Eta Aquarii)
Occurs duringApril 19 – May 28
Date of peakMay 6
Velocity66 km/s
Zenithal hourly rate55


General:

The shower is visible from about April 19 to about May 28 each year with peak activity on or around May 5. Unlike most major annual meteor showers, there is no sharp peak for this shower, but rather a broad maximum with good rates that last approximately one week centered on May 5. The meteors we currently see as members of the Eta Aquariid shower separated from Halley’s Comet hundreds of years ago. The current orbit of Halley’s Comet does not pass close enough to the Earth to be a source of meteoric activity.

The Eta Aquariids get their name because their radiant appears to lie in the constellation Aquarius, near the bright star, Eta Aquarii. The shower peaks at about a rate of around a meteor per minute, although such rates are rarely seen from Arkansas due to the low altitude of the radiant. The radiant of the shower is only above the horizon for the few hours before dawn, and early-rising observers, away from city lights, are often rewarded with rates that climb as the radiant rises before sunrise. 

 

Delta Aquariids – July 27

Alpha Capricornids – July 28

Perseids – August 11

Orionids – October 21

Southern Taurids – October 9

Northern Taurids – November 12

Leonids – November 17

Geminids – December 13

Ursids – December 21

General Viewing Tips: Most meteor showers are best viewed from 2-4 am, due to the Earth’s motion around the Sun. While the meteors will appear to ‘radiate’ from one point in the sky, there is no one direction that is better to look in to see the most shooting stars.  They can appear anywhere in the sky.  Rest back in a lawn chair that lets you look up and face in the direction that has the darkest (looking away from city lights, moon, etc) and clearest view.