Spring’s Best Meteor Shower
This year Eta Aquarid meteor shower is expected to be at its best on the upcoming weekend. It takes place annually from about April 19 to May 28, when the Earth’s orbit crosses the tail of dusty debris path left by the comet 1P/Halley. This year observers can see from 20 to 40 meteors per hour, that hit the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of around 66 km/second.
Falling towards the planet’s surface, the fast-moving stream of meteors emerges from its radiant (the point in the sky from which the meteors appear to originate). Eta Aquarids seem to radiate from the southern constellation Aquarius, near the bright star Eta Aquarii — hence their name. That’s why you’ll see more Aquarids in the predawn sky during the hours after midnight, when the Aquarius will be right above the horizon.
On the night of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower peak there will be no need to use any special equipment; meteors are visible to the naked eye in all parts of the clear sky. This year the New Moon won’t obscure the view. Make sure that you’ve chosen the dark viewing spot away from city lights and get ready to a patience game.