The Annual Eta Aquariids are a meteor shower associated with Halley’s Comet. The name comes from the star Eta Aquarii in the Aquarius constellation where the meteors appear to radiate from.
The shower is visible from about April 19 to about May 28 each year with peak activity on or around May 5/6. This is a much better shower to watch from the Southern Hemisphere as Aquarius is much higher in the sky as it rises at about 1:20 am so this is another early morning event!
However, best viewing is after the Moon has set which means after about 4:30 am. The Moon sets at about 4:47 AEST and is a day off being full.
This shower is associated with Halley’s Comet and was seen in 1870.
It has an average rate of 40-50 meteors in a dark sky. Aquarius rises in the North East and at the moment you can also see Mars as well. Higher in the sky are Jupiter and Saturn.
Meteors are pieces of debris which enter our planet’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 70 kilometres per second, vapourising and causing the streaks of light we call meteors.
Hunting for meteors, like the rest of astronomy, is a waiting game, so it’s best to bring a comfy chair to sit on and to wrap up warm as you could be outside for a while. They can be seen with the naked eye so there’s no need for binoculars or a telescope, though you will need to allow your eyes to adjust to the dark.
Where is best to watch the Eta Aquariid meteor shower?
For the best conditions, you want to find a safe location away from street lights and other sources of light pollution.
If you manage to get any pictures of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower I would love to see them.