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Astronomy

Eta Aquarids peak this weekend

By Dave Samuhel, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
5/03/2019, 6:01:21 PM

Facts about the Eta Aquariids v2019.jpg

The next meteor shower is almost here! The Eta Aquarids peak this weekend. This shower happens to be one of if not the best in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a moderate shower for the Northern Hemisphere. The meteors are most abundant in the hours leading up to dawn.

The peak is spread out through a few nights, the most active night will probably be Saturday night, May 4, into Sunday morning, May 5. Up to 30 meteors per hour will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere with perhaps upwards of 50-60 per hour in in the tropics and Southern Hemisphere. This shower has produced as much as 85 meteors per hour in recent years (2008) according to the International Meteor Organization.

Eta Aquarids 2019 chart.jpg

A huge boost for the shower is the lack of moonlight. The new moon occurs the night of May 4/5. So, viewing conditions will be ideal for this shower.

The Eta Aquarids are one of two meteor showers sparked by Halley's comet. The other being the Orionids in October.

Eta-Aquarids-2019-orbit-Halley.jpg

Graphic showing the orbit of Halley's comet. This graphic is courtesty of the Sky and Telescope article about the 2019 eta Aquariid meteor shower.


Viewing tips for the serious observer

Give yourself a solid hour to look for meteors. Get comfortable. Lay down on a blanket, or you a reclining chair. You want to look up and have as much of the sky in your view as possible. You don't have to focus on a particular part of the sky. Do not look at any sources of light during this hour, including phones! Follow these steps and you will be guaranteed to spot some meteors!

Viewing Conditions

Feature graphic hd19


Across North America the weather pattern will be unsettled. But, don't give up hope if you are in a red area. You can still find clear patches, especially in the predawn hours when this shower will be most active.

europe meteor viewing 5.2


South America

Screen Shot 2019-05-03 at 1.22.45 PM.png

Australia

Screen Shot 2019-05-03 at 1.23.30 PM.png

Southeast Asia

Screen Shot 2019-05-03 at 1.23.48 PM.png


Happy meteor hunting! Just look up; you never know what you will see!

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Astronomy