Tuesday, 02 March, 2021


Everything You Need to Know About This Year's Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

Kristine Garrett | 25 July, 2020, 03:12

"If you can find the Water Jar in the constellation Aquarius, you've as good as located the radiant point for the Eta Aquariid meteors". But this week you might want to look to the skies as well - and feast your eyes on a luminous night sky. The specific name for this meteor shower is Eta Aquarid.

"The meteor shower is visible all across Australia - in a dark location, you can expect up to 50 shooting stars per hour".

And, rather than only being visible every 76 years (the next Halley's Comet sighting is in 2061), the Eta Aquarids come around every year, usually between April 19-May 28 every year. From the northern hemisphere, the shooting stars often appear as "earth grazers" - long meteors that appear to skim the surface of the Earth near the horizon.

Astrophysicist and Cosmologist, Dr Brad Tucker, from the Australian National University (ANU) explains how the meteor shower occurs and how people can see it.

Astronomers say to watch the shower you should "get a comfy chair" and be prepared to sit outside for hours - but you won't need binoculars or a telescope. Halley's comet was last seen in 1986.

Because the constellation hangs so low during the meteor shower's visible peak, Eta Aquariids are sometimes known as "earthgrazers".

The meteor shower will be best viewed in the southern hemisphere but will be visible in the northern hemisphere - just not as clearly.

Luckily, being in the southern hemisphere, we get some of the best views in the world.

This is one of the best meteor showers you can view in the Southern Hemisphere in 2020.

"...they start in relatively the north-east part of the sky. you may see one or two really quick and then may have to wait for a few minutes before you get to the next one".

There is another meteor shower happening tonight, and it's a much bigger shower.

Generally, the weather is set to be fairly clear along the east coast with some chances or showers and cloud cover - hopefully in the early hours the sky is clear.

"If you are in a city, getting away from nearby lights and into a darker area like a nearby oval will allow you to see more shooting stars".

Renowned for their speed the meteors will be entering the earth's atmosphere and will leave a trail of glowing debris following them.

Numerous meteor showers throughout the year are caused by debris left behind by comets when they visit the inner solar system.

In October, the earth will again pass through Halley's dust trail for a meteor shower called the Orionids which, Stoitsis said, did not tend to deliver as many meteors to the sky as the Eta Aquarids.

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