Archive for May, 2013

Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower 2013

For those of you who are very early risers in the morning, the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower is for you! Unfortunately, for those of us who can’t get up in the morning we will probably miss this shower, as the best time to view these meteors is in the couple of hours before dawn. This is when the radiant of the meteor shower comes over our horizion in the Northern Hemisphere.

The good thing about this meteor shower is that you can see the meteors several days before the peak, which is on May 5th, and then for several days after. I believe the full timescale is from the 19th April until the 28th May, so they can be seen for over a month, if you are willing to get up in the morning!  The number of meteors that should be seen each hour could peak at about 70 per hour if you are lucky, but you are more likely to see around 10-20 per hour in the Northern Hemisphere, with each meteor travelling at approx 66km/s.  This year is actually a very good year to view the Eta Aquarids as the moon is only a waning crescent so will not make the sky too bright.

This meteor shower is called the Eta Aquarids as the radiant of the shower looks to emanate from the star Eta in the constellation of Aquarius. Aquarius is also known as the ‘Water Bearer’ and is shown in the image below.  The meteors from this shower are actually dust and debris left behind from Halleys Comet, with this shower coming about due to the Earth passing through this orbital path of the Comet and thus ploughing straight through the path of debris

The Constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer

The Constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer