2013 Meteor Shower viewing guide
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ETA Aquarids Information
 


 

 

   
 
 
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General Info ETA Aquarids History
 

How can I best view the ETA Aquarids meteor shower?

The Eta Aquarids (ETA) are the third major meteor shower of the year, and is expected to be one of the greatest to witness in 2012. Like many other meteor showers, the Eta Aquarids are caused by the Earth passing through the dust particles of a comet. In this case, that comet is Halley’s Comet (1P/Halley).Each spring, Earth passes into a trail of dust from Halley’s Comet, and as a result, all the dust and debris burning up in our atmosphere produces the spectacle known as the Eta Aquarids meteor shower.

“Each eta Aquarid meteoroid is a piece of Halley’s Comet doing a kamikaze death dive into the atmosphere,” said NASA astronomer Bill Cooke. “Many people have never seen this famous comet, but on the morning of May 6th they can watch bits of it leave fiery trails across the sky.”

In 2012, the Eta Aquarids are active from April 19th through May 28th. It reaches its peak on the night of May 5th into the morning of May 6th but will continue to put on a great display until the morning hours of May 7th. The peak is the moment of the strongest meteor activity, and this number is expected to range from 40 to 60 meteors per hour under perfect viewing conditions On average, observers in perfect conditions will be able to view one meteor every minute and a half.

Our most recent meteor shower, the May 2012 Lyrids, were negatively affected by a bright moonlit sky. Fortunately, the New Moon occurring just days before the peak of the Eta Aquarids will darken the skies of the world, creating promising viewing conditions for those observing May’s “shooting stars”.

The radiant of the Eta Aquarids, also known as the point from which all of the meteors appear to come from, is the “water jar” of the constellation Aquarius. Not coincidentally, Eta Aquarids are named after this constellation. While moonlight conditions appear to be fantastic be aware that local conditions such as cloud cover, light pollution, and precipitation will also play a major role in the number of meteors you are likely to see.

For many observers, particularly those closer to the Northern Hemisphere, the Eta Aquarids will only be visible during the last couple of hours before the sun rises. This is due the radiant being located 60 degrees west of the sun, therefore it rises before the sun in the morning hours.

How do I know the sky is dark enough to see meteors?

If you happen to live near a brightly lit city, if possible, we recommend that you drive away from the glow of city light. After you’ve escaped the glow of the city, find a dark, safe, and possibly isolated spot where oncoming vehicle headlights will not occasionally ruin your sensitive night vision. Look for state or city parks or other safe dark-sites.

Once you have settled down at your observation spot, look approximately half way up the sky facing east. This way you can have the Eta Aquarids’ radiant within your field of view. If you see heavy lights while facing east, face closer to the north or south. Looking directly up at the sky or into the radiant is not recommended since this is just the point in which they appear to come from. You are more likely to see a trail when looking slightly away from this point. Looking half-way up into the sky will lead to the best show in the house!

 

Moon forecast for May 6th


Waxing Crescent moon. Gazing conditions will be perfect as the moon will not interfere with observing ETA Aquarids.


 

ETA Aquarids shower fact file


First apeared: Early-1870's

Name origin: ETA Aquarids appears to radiate from the constellation Aquaris.

Parent: The ETA Aquarids are pieces of debris from Halley's Comet.

Active start date: April 19th

ZHR/Rate on peak: 60-120 per hour

Active end date: May 28th
 

 

Videos of ETA Aquarids Showers

ETA Aquarids 1
ETA Aquarids 2
ETA Aquarids 3
 
General Info ETA Aquarids History
 

The recorded history of the ETA Aquarids meteor shower

Stay tuned as the Spacedex write up is currently in progress.

 

ETA Aquarids shower fact file


First apeared: Early-1870's

Name origin: ETA Aquarids appears to radiate from the constellation Aquaris.

Parent: The ETA Aquarids are pieces of debris from Halley's Comet.

Active start date: April 19th

ZHR/Rate on peak: 60-120 per hour

Active end date: May 28th
 

 

Videos of ETA Aquarids Showers

ETA Aquarids 1
ETA Aquarids 2
ETA Aquarids 3

Stay tuned as the Spacedex write up is currently in progress.

 
General Info ETA Aquarids History
 

How can I best view the ETA Aquarids meteor shower?

The Eta Aquarids (ETA) are the third major meteor shower of the year. Like many other meteor showers, the Eta Aquarids are caused by the Earth passing through the dust particles of a comet. In this case, that comet is Halley’s Comet (1P/Halley).Each spring, Earth passes into a trail of dust from Halley’s Comet, and as a result, all the dust and debris burning up in our atmosphere produces the spectacle known as the Eta Aquarids meteor shower.

“Each eta Aquarid meteoroid is a piece of Halley’s Comet doing a kamikaze death dive into the atmosphere,” said NASA astronomer Bill Cooke. “Many people have never seen this famous comet, but on the morning of May 6th they can watch bits of it leave fiery trails across the sky.”

In 2013, the Eta Aquarids are active from April 19th through May 28th. It reaches its peak on the night of May 5th into the morning of May 6th but will continue to put on a great display until the morning hours of May 7th. The peak is the moment of the strongest meteor activity, and this number is expected to range from 30 to 50 meteors per hour under perfect viewing conditions On average, observers in perfect conditions will be able to view one meteor every minute and a half.

Our most recent meteor shower, the May 2013 Lyrids, were negatively affected by a bright moonlit sky. Fortunately, the New Moon occurring just days before the peak of the Eta Aquarids will darken the skies of the world, creating promising viewing conditions for those observing May “shooting stars”.

The radiant of the Eta Aquarids, also known as the point from which all of the meteors appear to come from, is the “water jar” of the constellation Aquarius. Not coincidentally, Eta Aquarids are named after this constellation. While moonlight conditions appear to be fantastic be aware that local conditions such as cloud cover, light pollution, and precipitation will also play a major role in the number of meteors you are likely to see.

For many observers, particularly those closer to the Northern Hemisphere, the Eta Aquarids will only be visible during the last couple of hours before the sun rises. This is due the radiant being located 60 degrees west of the sun, therefore it rises before the sun in the morning hours.

How do I know the sky is dark enough to see meteors?

If you happen to live near a brightly lit city, if possible, we recommend that you drive away from the glow of city light. After you’ve escaped the glow of the city, find a dark, safe, and possibly isolated spot where oncoming vehicle headlights will not occasionally ruin your sensitive night vision. Look for state or city parks or other safe dark-sites.

Once you have settled down at your observation spot, look approximately half way up the sky facing east. This way you can have the Eta Aquarids’ radiant within your field of view. If you see heavy lights while facing east, face closer to the north or south. Looking directly up at the sky or into the radiant is not recommended since this is just the point in which they appear to come from. You are more likely to see a trail when looking slightly away from this point. Looking half-way up into the sky will lead to the best show in the house!

 

Moon forecast for May 5th


Waning Crescent Moon. Gazing conditions will be good, as the Moon will not interfere with observing ETA Aquarids.


 

ETA Aquarids shower fact file


First apeared: Early-1870's

Name origin: ETA Aquarids appears to radiate from the constellation Aquaris.

Parent: The ETA Aquarids are pieces of debris from Halley's Comet.

Active start date: April 19th

ZHR/Rate on peak: 30-50 per hour

Active end date: May 28th
 

 

Videos of ETA Aquarids Showers

ETA Aquarids 1
ETA Aquarids 2
ETA Aquarids 3

The Big and Little Dippers

 

 

 

Viewing locations and times to view the ETA Aquarids meteor shower

Africa Asia Australia South America
& The Caribbean
View Africa Countries View Asian Countries Australian Cities South American Counties
       
 

Europe

Albania Andorra Austria Belgium

Belarus Bulgaria Czech Republic Croatia

Denmark Estonia Finland France

Germany Greece Hungary Iceland

Ireland Italy Latvia Liechtenstein

Luxembourg Lithuania Malta Monaco

Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal

Russia Romania Scotland Serbia

Slovakia Slovenia Sweden Switzerland

Spain Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom

 

 

North America - Mexico & United States

Mexico Alabama Alaska Arizona

Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut

Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii

Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa

Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine

Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota

Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska

Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico

New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio

Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island

South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas

Utah Vermont Virginia Washington

West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming  
 
 

North America - Canada

Alberta British Columbia Ontario Québec

Saskatchenwan Manitoba Nova Scotia New Brunswick

Newfoundland Nunavut Prince Edward Island Yukon

 

 

Central America

Belize Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala

Honduras Nicaragua Panama  
 

 

Having trouble finding a location? Search here:


 

Meteor Shower Tip

Try not to look directly up into the skies of the world. Instead, look half-way up into the sky for the best view!


ETA Aquarids Fact

The Eta Aquarid meteor are the second fastest of any annual meteor shower. They travel at speeds of up to a blazing 148,000 mph (238,000 km/h). Only the Leonids of November hit our atmosphere faster.


ETA Aquarids Tip

Keep in mind that any local light pollution or obstructions like tall trees or buildings will reduce your making a meteor sighting. Give your eyes time to dark-adapt before starting.

Your name in the stars

Guide to photographing meteor showers



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