Best Time to See Shooting Stars

Best time to see shooting stars

If you’ve ever gazed up at the night sky and wished upon a shooting star, you’re not alone. The allure of these celestial wonders has captured the imagination of stargazers for centuries. The question is when is the best time to see shooting stars?

Let’s explore the best times of the year, the ideal times of the day, how the experience varies by geographic location.  What are the best places to witness shooting stars, and where you can see them most consistently.

Best Time of Year to See Shooting Stars

Shooting stars, or meteors, are most abundant during meteor showers, which occur at specific times of the year. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to witness these cosmic events:

Summer Meteor Showers (May to August)


  • Warm weather makes for comfortable outdoor viewing.
  • Longer nights provide ample darkness.


  • Popular meteor showers like the Perseids can lead to crowded viewing spots.

Fall Meteor Showers (September to November)


  • Crisp autumn nights offer excellent visibility.
  • Less crowded than summer events.


  • Shorter nights compared to summer may limit viewing time.

Winter Meteor Showers (December to February)


  • Clear, cold nights with low humidity provide optimal viewing conditions.
  • Some meteor showers coincide with the holiday season, making it a festive activity.


  • Winter temperatures can be quite cold, so bundle up.

Spring Meteor Showers (March to April)


  • Milder temperatures during early spring.
  • Longer evenings for stargazing.


  • Fewer meteor showers compared to other seasons.

Schedule of Meteor Showers

Meteor showers create the best opportunity to see shooting stars.  These recurring events happen throughout the year when the Earth passes through the debris left behind by comets. The best time to see shooting stars is during one of these meteor showers.  Here’s a schedule for some of the well-known meteor showers:

  1. Quadrantids (January)
    • Peak: Early January
    • Active: Late December to early January
    • The Quadrantids are known for their brief but intense peak.
  2. Lyrids (April)
    • Peak: April 21-22
    • Active: Mid to late April
    • The Lyrids are usually bright, and their radiant point is near the bright star Vega.
  3. Eta Aquariids (May)
    • Peak: May 4-5
    • Active: Late April to mid-May
    • The Eta Aquariids are associated with Halley’s Comet and are best seen from the Southern Hemisphere.
  4. Perseids (August)
    • Peak: August 11-12 and 12-13
    • Active: Late July to mid-August
    • The Perseids are among the most famous meteor showers, often producing many bright meteors.
  5. Orionids (October)
    • Peak: October 20-21
    • Active: Early to late October
    • The Orionids are associated with Halley’s Comet and are best seen in the late evening.
  6. Leonids (November)
    • Peak: November 17-18
    • Active: Mid to late November
    • The Leonids are known for occasional meteor storms with hundreds or even thousands of meteors per hour.
  7. Geminids (December)
    • Peak: December 13-14
    • Active: Early to mid-December
    • The Geminids are one of the most reliable meteor showers, known for their multicolored meteors.
  8. Ursids (December)
    • Peak: December 22-23
    • Active: Mid to late December
    • The Ursids produce fewer meteors than some other showers but can still provide a good show.

Please note that meteor showers can vary from year to year, and the best viewing times might be affected by factors like moonlight and local light pollution. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on meteor showers, it’s a good idea to consult an astronomical calendar or a stargazing app. Additionally, meteor showers can be observed a day or two before or after their peak dates.  This is the best time to see shooting stars.

Best Time of the Day to See Shooting Stars

Meteors can be observed at any time during the night, but the best time is when the sky is darkest. Here are the ideal times of the day to see shooting stars:

Late Evening to Early Morning (10 PM to 2 AM)


  • This is traditionally considered prime time for meteor viewing.
  • The sky is darkest, enhancing visibility.


  • It may require staying up late or waking up in the middle of the night.

Late Afternoon to Early Evening (6 PM to 11 PM)


  • During meteor showers, meteors can be visible during these hours.
  • Ideal for those who prefer not to stay up late.


  • Displays are generally less intense during these hours.

How Do Things Change Based on Geographic Location

The best time to see shooting stars can also vary based on your geographic location. Some meteor showers are more prominent in certain parts of the world. Here’s how it changes by location:

Northern Hemisphere


  • More meteor showers are visible.
  • Popular showers like the Perseids and Geminids can be seen.


  • Some southern hemisphere showers may not be visible.

Southern Hemisphere


  • Offers unique meteor showers like the Eta Aquariids.
  • Fewer light pollution issues in remote areas.


  • Limited visibility of northern hemisphere showers.

Where is the Best Place to See Shooting Stars

Choosing the right location is crucial for maximizing your shooting star experience. Here are some of the best places to witness meteor showers:

Death Valley National Park, USA

Why: Designated as a Dark Sky Park, it offers minimal light pollution.

Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand

Why: Renowned for its pristine night skies and superb meteor viewing.

Atacama Desert, Chile

Why: Exceptionally dry and clear skies ideal for stargazing.

La Palma, Canary Islands

Why: Known for its commitment to preserving the night sky.

Jasper National Park, Canada

Why: A Dark Sky Preserve with excellent meteor shower viewing.

Why: With its high-altitude desert location, it offers exceptional clarity for meteor spotting.

Where Can You See Shooting Stars Most Consistently?

To consistently see shooting stars, choose destinations known for their minimal light pollution and excellent meteor viewing conditions. Here are some places that offer the most consistent meteor sightings:

Death Valley National Park, USA

Consistency: Very High Why: Its Dark Sky Park status ensures minimal light pollution, making meteor sightings highly reliable.

Atacama Desert, Chile

Consistency: High Why: The desert’s high altitude and clear skies create a favorable environment for meteor viewing.

Jasper National Park, Canada

Consistency: High Why: As a Dark Sky Preserve, it consistently provides exceptional meteor shower experiences.


The best time to see shooting stars depends on various factors.  The most important factors include the time of year and the time of day. Whether you’re an avid meteor shower chaser or a casual stargazer, there’s a perfect time and place for you to witness these awe-inspiring celestial events. So, prepare your telescope or just lay back on a blanket, and get ready to make some wishes on those shooting stars.

Photo Credits
Image by Pablo Elices from Pixabay


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