Around May 3rd this meteor shower will become even more frisky. One thing nice about the Eta Aquariids is that it’s known to have a full week of activity. So before its peak on May 6th, you could be treated to even more meteors streaming across the morning and evening sky. Expect to see 15 to 20 meteors per hour. Then, in the morning of May 6th, the meteor shower may explode with up to 50 meteors per hour.
How did the Eta Aquariids get its name?
It was named after the constellation Aquarius, as it appears to radiate from this cluster of stars. Meteor enthusiasts should be able to see a meteor per minute. This is due to lack of moonlight, as the moon will be in the waning crescent phase, shedding virtually no “light pollution”.
When and where should one look to see this meteor shower?
I’ve stated before that meteors can be seen anywhere in the sky. But you can’t be straining your neck, trying to search the whole sky. So it’s always better to pick a spot and concentrate on it. The best starting point to start looking for this shower is the meteor shower’s radiant.
What’s the radiant?
The radiant for the Eta Aquariids, for people living north of the equator is Aquarius. The constellation Aquarius is located, low on the horizon in the south-eastern sky. For those south of the equator, Aquarius is located more toward the east and higher in the sky. Remember, meteors will seem to emanate from the radiant. So tracing the backward path of a meteor will usually point to the constellation, after which the meteor shower is named.A comet is the cause of the Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower
In fact, the comet responsible for this meteor shower is one of the most famous comets of all time, Halley’s Comet. Even though Halley’s Comet came near Earth in 1986, we still pass through the remnants of its tail, every successive year since. Also, even before Halley’s Comet made its last spectacular Earth visit, it’s mere travelling through space was producing Eta Aquariids meteor events on an annual basis.
Why do meteor showers happen at the same time each year?
Comets are always on time! We happen to pass through the dust trails and debris of a comet that orbits our Sun, at the same time each year. Furthermore, for thousands upon thousands of years meteoroids get pulled into the path of the parent comet and then blast into Earth’s atmosphere. The result is a consistent meteor shower that never runs out of ammunition. The great Halley’s Comet is responsible for more than one meteor shower every year. The next shower on its calender is the Orionids Meteor Shower in October.
Eta Aquariids meteor shower facts:
Let’s talk about speed! Eta Aquariids meteors move at 68 kilometers per second or approximately 150,000 plus miles per hour! They are bright and will create smoke trails or persistent trains. Get out there and don’t miss out on all the action!
Here are the dates for the next meteor shower.
η-Aquariids Meteor Shower
Start Date: April 19
Peak Date: May 6
End Date: May 28
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- Meteor Mark