When and where to see the magical Delta Aquariids meteor shower in England

Telescopes at the ready 

Search the skies for the Delta Aquariids meteor shower this week - Credit: Christian Reusch / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Here is everything you need to know about how and when to watch the Delta Aquariids meteor shower this July.

What are the Delta Aquariids?

The Delta Aquariids are a meteor shower that takes place every year from mid-July to mid-August. Meteor showers are formed from a collection of cosmic debris called meteoroids. The  Delta Aquariids are thought to have originated from debris left by the Comet 96P Machholz, which orbits the sun once every 5 years. 

Their name is from the fact that they look like they come from close to the 3rd brightest star Delta Aquarii in the constellation of Aquarius. Therefore, the name essentially is to help the viewer to distinguish which meteor shower they are watching as the Delta Aquariids also coincide partially with the Perseid Meteor Shower, which looks like it has its radiant origin in the constellation of Perseus.

When to watch the Delta Aquariids Meteor shower?

Set to peak from Thursday 28th to Friday 29th July, it is best to find a spot away from light pollution during pre-dawn hours between 1 am and just after 3 am to view the meteor shower. 

The shower is set to have around 20 meteors visible per hour, which means that stargazers should be vigilantly watching the skies to capture the magic 25-mile-per-second display.

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Where to see the Delta Aquariids Meteor shower?

The best places to see any kind of meteor shower are at one of England's Dark Sky Zones.

South Downs National Park

The South Downs National Park received its Dark Skies status in May 2016 and has welcomed plenty of intrepid budding astronomers since. Perhaps one of the best places to watch the meteors would be over the iconic seven sisters cliffs.

Exmoor National Park

Exmoor National Park became Europe's first international dark sky reserve in 2011. On a clear night, you can see thousands of stars and explore the 2-mile self-led Exmoor Dark Sky Discovery Trail, which takes you across open moorland and towards beautiful ruins.

North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors National Park received its Dark skies status in 2020. The best locations within the park that have a milky way grade dark sky (so called because you can see our galaxy with the naked eye) are the Sutton Bank and Danby National Park Centres and the Dalby Observatories in the Dalby Forest.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Like the North York Moors National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park also received its Dark skies status in 2020. The best spots in the Yorkshire Dales National park for spotting shooting stars and other celestial delights are the Hawes and Malham National Park Centres.

Northumberland National Park

Northumberland National Park became the first International Dark Sky Park in England in 2013 and has since also been crowned as England's most pristine dark sky by the CPRE Night Blight Report in 2016. 

On a clear night, you can see thousands of stars, the Milky Way and even the Andromeda galaxy with the naked eye!

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