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American Meteor Society

Viewing the Southern Delta Aquariids in 2020

8 Jul 2020, 08:47 UTC
Viewing the Southern Delta Aquariids in 2020
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One good thing about a Perseid maximum with lunar interference is that it guarantees that two weeks prior that the Southern delta Aquariids (SDA) will peak under good conditions. Such is the case in 2020 when the last quarter moon will diminish the Perseid peak. The SDA’s will peak on July 29th with a waxing gibbous moon setting just as the SDA radiant culminates in the southern sky. Now this display will not replace the mighty Perseids as it is much weaker, especially as seen from mid-northern latitudes. But it is a nice warmup to the Perseids as the southern sky is full of active radiants this time of year. The strongest of these by far are the Southern delta Aquariids.
These meteors were first noticed in the mid-19th century. It is still not precisely known what is the parent object of these meteors. The orbits of these meteors display a similarity to that of the Daylight Arietids and the Quadrantids. It is possible that all three of these displays are produced by remnants of comet C/1490 Y1. These remnants include comet 96P/Machholz and the asteroid known as 2003 EH1.

The Earth first encounters debris associated with the SDA’s on ...

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