Does it seem that you've been seeing more meteors when you've been outside at night during July's new-Moon period? No, it's not your imagination — and it's not just because the nights are getting longer.
It happens that no strong meteor showers take place from February through June. And most of the weak showers at that time of year are best viewed from the Southern Hemisphere. Meanwhile, those of us at mid-northern latitudes suffer a long drought. But things start to improve dramatically at the end of July.
A couple of minor showers with radiants in Capricornus are currently in progress, and the moderately strong Southern Delta Aquarids peak over the weekend. Unfortunately, this coincides with the full Moon. But if you go out before dawn on Thursday or Friday, you'll have an hour or two of full darkness after the Moon sets. And while you're out there, don't forget to look for Mercury rising in the east.
Things start to get really exciting in early August, when the Moon departs from the evening sky. July's showers are still trickling along at a modest pace, while the Perseids rapidly gather steam. The Perseids are one of the strongest and most reliable annual meteor showers, rivaled only by December's Geminids. And this year the Perseids' peak coincides with both a new Moon and a weekend!