Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

radiant   This weekend the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower reaches its peak during the early morning hours before sunrise on Monday 6 May, however like all annual meteor showers there is a range of days, (19 April through 28 May), where meteors associated with the Eta Aquarids may be seen. This meteor shower radiates outward from the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer; averages 55 per hour; are fast moving often leaving a glowing train that may lasts for several seconds. A ‘train’ is a persistent glowing streak of light left behind by the meteor as it vaporizes in the upper atmosphere. Interestingly the Eta Aquarids originate from debris left along the Earth’s orbit by Halley’s Comet.

   This region of the sky unfortunately rises only a couple of hours before sunrise and on the mornings of the 5th and 6th the waning crescent Moon will be above the eastern horizon. The slides below show the region of the sky set to 4:30 a.m. CDT on May 6th (2330 UT 5 May). Each slide depicts the constellations with and without the connecting lines forming the constellation pattern. I used several including the classical Astronomical patterns, and those by H.A. Rey in his book The Stars, A New Way To See Them. (You may know H.A. Rey as the author of Curious George)

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   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.