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The Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

May 01, 2013; 7:31 AM

Updated viewing condition (skycover) map for the Eta Aquarids for tonight and tomorrow predawn hours.

A couple of interesting facts about this meteor shower (meteors are also known as shooting stars):

Mid- and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere will average about 10-20 meteors per hour, while areas closer to the equator (i.e., the tropics) and the Southern Hemisphere could see up to 80.

This meteor shower has a relatively broad peak, meaning you can watch it for several days from May 4 through May 7 with the peak hours likely being in the predawn hours of Sunday morning, May 5.

For those in the northeastern United States, viewing conditions will be great early Sunday morning as a large area of high pressure causes mainly clear skies in the early morning hours Sunday. Another positive for viewing this event will be that the moon will be in its waning crescent phase (a small sliver) and getting smaller as we go through time and thus should not light up the sky much making it easier to see the shooting stars.

The predawn hours (4-6 a.m.) will be the best time to see Eta Aquarid meteors everywhere.

The shower is named after the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer as this is where the shooting stars will seem to be coming from.

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Astronomy Blog
The astronomy blog, by Mark Paquette, discusses stargazing and astronomy issues and how the weather will interact with current astronomy events.