Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

The Eta Aquariids are a meteor shower associated with Halley’s Comet. The shower is visible from about April 19 to about May 28 each year with peak activity on or around May 5.

These meteors are fast and travel at about 66km/s in our atmosphere and will peak for us in Australia on the night between May 6 and 7.

Fast meteors can leave glowing ‘trains’, incandescent bits of debris that make for a spectacular light show.

Seeing this year will be difficult as the Moon will be up in the early hours when the meteors will be most visible. The Moon rises at 2:13am AEST

The pieces of space debris that interact with our atmosphere to create the Eta Aquarids originate from Halley’s Comet. Every time Halley returns to the inner solar system its nucleus sheds a layer of ice and rock into space.

The dust grains eventually become the Eta Aquarids in May (and the Orionids in October) if they collide with Earth’s atmosphere.

For the best viewing, find an area well away from city or street lights. Bring a sleeping bag or a blanket. Lie flat on your back and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible. After about 15-20 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will be able to see even faint meteors. There’s plenty of time – the show lasts until dawn.

Donna the Astronomer

I am a keen astronomer lucky enough to live and work in Coonabarabran the Astronomy Capital of Australia! I am a ‘Drover’s Brat’ and discoverer of a couple of comets and asteroids. I operate Milroy Observatory and can show you how to best integrate dark sky experiences into your tourism, farm stay or AirBnB business.

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