Eta Aquariid meteor shower to peak on May 5, outburst possible

tau herculids by jim vajda may 31 2022

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is anticipated to reach its peak on May 5, 2024. Observers may witness an unusually high number of meteors this year thanks to a possible outburst and minimal lunar light interference, providing optimal viewing conditions.

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower, a celestial event produced by debris from Comet Halley, is predicted to peak on May 5 with a possible outburst of activity due to meteoroids perturbed closer to Earth’s orbit by Jupiter’s gravitational pull.

In contrast to previous years, when lunar brightness hindered observations, 2024 offers an excellent opportunity for clear, dark skies.

Observers can expect the best conditions on the morning of May 5, when the moon, only 8% illuminated, poses minimal interference with visibility. The meteor shower’s radiant point is near the star Eta Aquarii in the constellation Aquarius.

During peak activity, under optimal dark sky conditions, viewers in the Southern Hemisphere might see over 60 meteors per hour, while those in the Northern Hemisphere could observe 15 – 20 meteors per hour, potentially doubling if the outburst occurs as predicted.

Observing sessions are recommended from 02:00 to 04:00 local summer time for those at 45 degrees north latitude. The observation window adjusts depending on one’s latitude, decreasing further north and increasing to the south.

For effective meteor watching, no special equipment is required—just a clear sky and patience. Observers should position themselves to view the sky at an angle to avoid obstructions and maximize visibility. The best sightings are likely to be in the eastern half of the sky.

Additionally, the peak coincides with weak activity from other sources, such as Scorpius (Anthelions), and several sporadic meteors each hour, enriching the overall experience.

“The Eta Aquariids will offer a good chance of seeing the strongest activity from this source until the 2040s,” said astronomer Robert Lunsford and encouraged enthusiasts to take advantage of clear skies and report their observations to the American Meteor Society (AMS) or International Meteor Organization (IMO).


1 Viewing the Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower in 2024 – IMO – May 2, 2024


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