Eta Aquarid meteor shower about to peak

(Photo: Brad Lackey/Lookout Mountain Photography)

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is active from April 19th-May 28th, but it will be at its peak this weekend. The official peak came during the predawn hours of May 6th, but the Aquarids will be similarly active for a few more days.

After a cloudy few days we expect the morning of May 7th-10th to give us mostly clear mornings. That will make for much better viewing then the past few days, which have been quite cloudy. Head out at least an hour before dawn for the best chance at seeing some meteors.

The radiant point of the Eta Aquarid is the constellation Aquarius, which is highest in the sky in the morning. That’s why the best viewing time will be before dawn, but you can still see the meteor shower at night once the sun is fully set.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is better seen in the southern hemisphere, so you’ll have to be patient to really enjoy it in the Tennessee Valley. At its peak the shower will still send out around 10-20 meteors, likely in bursts.

Halley’s Comet as the meteor shower’s source: The Eta Aquarid meteor shower comes to the Earth courtesy of Halley’s Comet. Earth passes through the the comet’s orbital path, meaning Earth passes through debris from the comet. The debris, or comet dust, breaks into Earth’s atmosphere and creates the meteor shower.

 

This information originally appeared on Earthsky.org