Australian stargazers are being treated to three active meteor showers lighting up the night sky ahead of an expected peak this weekend.
The Piscis Austrinids, Southern Delta Aquariids and Alpha Capricornids are typically visible in late July and early August.
The Piscis Austrinids shower is expected to peak on Thursday night and the other two on Saturday night.
The Aquariids should have the most and fastest-moving meteors, while the Capricornids have been known to produce bright, fiery and slow-moving meteors.
A new moon phase will also arrive on Friday giving amateur astronomers a better chance of seeing the meteors, although light pollution in urban areas from streetlights and buildings can cancel out the advantage.
University of Southern Queensland astrophysics professor Jonti Horner said the trio of showers would arrive in favourable conditions.
“It’s just good timing this year, we’ve got the new moon and the weekend all at once,” he said.
Those looking to catch a glimpse of the meteors won’t need any special equipment. The naked eye with its wider field of view makes it easier to spot space rocks streaking across the sky, Prof Horner explained.
People should give themselves enough time to let their eyes adjust and not get discouraged if they don’t see meteors immediately.
“They’re like buses, you might go a while seeing none and then see three in the space of five minutes,” Prof Horner said.
The showers could provide glimpses of about 20 meteors per hour, he said.
The best chance of spotting a meteor is expected between 10pm and dawn.
The showers form when the earth’s orbit crosses paths with space debris and dust that has been orbiting for billions of years, since planets first formed in our solar system.
While the trio of showers in the Australian sky for the remainder of the week promises a spectacle, Prof Horner said even better meteoric events are coming, with the Geminids meteor shower in December rated the best shower of the year.