Published: Mon, May 06, 2019
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower 2019: How, when and where to see it

Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower 2019: How, when and where to see it

Physicist Clare Kenyon from the University of Melbourne said if the skies were clear, viewers could expect to see up to 50 meteors an hour at their peak.

The showers typically peak in early May and this year they are expected to peak this weekend.

At its peak, the meteor per hour rate can vary between 10 - 20 meteors.

Onlookers from Houston through St. Louis and Chicago are also forecast to have good viewing conditions, but light pollution from the cities may make it hard to see numerous dimmer shooting stars.

Nasa's Meteoroid Environment Office told Space.com that Eta Aquarids is of medium brightness, and the darker the skies are the more people will see it.

"The Eta Aquarids are one of two meteor showers sparked by Halley's Comet", Samuhel said.

The same shooting stars reappear again in October, when the skies light-up with the Orionid meteor shower. All this means Australians will have some of the best viewing conditions. In fact, focusing only on the radiant point will reduce the overall number of meteors you will see during the shower. Come prepared with a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair.

"Over time, Halley's Comet's orbit around the Sun actually changes slightly, and then Earth goes through the debris".

The best viewing conditions on Saturday night are expected across the Pacific Northwest, central Rockies and along a region from MI to eastern Texas where cloud-free conditions will bring uninterrupted views of the meteor showers.

According to The Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ), the radiant - the area the meteors appear from - rises at 2am Sunday, but will be best seen at 5am. Fast meteors can leave glowing "trains" (incandescent bits of debris in the wake of the meteor) which last for several seconds to minutes. These meteors travel at about 148,000 miles per hour into the Earth's atmosphere.

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