27 July 2023, by Victoria Séveno

Avid stargazers in the Netherlands are in for a real treat this week, with not one but two meteor showers set to peak on July 30. Telescopes at the ready everyone, as the Alpha Capricornids and Delta Aquariids will both be making an appearance in Dutch skies in the coming days. 

What are the Alpha Capricornids and Delta Aquariids?

The Alpha Capricornids are seen within the boundaries of the Capricornus constellation. They are characterised by their slow, bright yellow fireballs and brief streaks of light, often called “shooting stars”. The parent body of the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower is comet 169P / NEAT. 

Meanwhile, the Delta Aquariids lie within the boundary of the Aquarius constellation, near one of the constellation’s brightest stars, the Delta Aquarii. The origin of the Delta Aquariids Meteor Shower has been disputed and is still undefined – although recent research suggests that the parent comet is likely to be the Comet / 96P Machholtz.

2 meteor showers visible in the Netherlands in July 2023

Both meteor showers have been active since early July, but the real highlight will be at the showers’ peak on July 30 when stargazers will be able to see up to 30 comets per hour. Plus, the peak of the Delta Aquariids and Alpha Capricornids also happens to overlap with the start of the Perseids; the indisputable highlight of the astronomical calendar.

To maximise your chances of seeing this meteorological show, be sure to city to an area with little to no artificial light (such as a national park) – and don’t worry, you won’t need any special equipment in order to see the “shooting stars”. The best conditions (if the Dutch weather cooperates and the skies stay clear) are typically between 2am and sunrise – although a full and bright moon means this year’s viewing conditions aren’t ideal.

Thumb image credit: Jasmine_K / Shutterstock.com.

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