Just a reminder that the Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak this weekend and into early next week, this shower is associated with Halley’s Comet.
The Moon will be a very slim crescent by the time the Eta’s peak on the morning of the 6th May (Monday).
It is advisable that you try to observe at least the morning before and after the peak as the maxima is very broad for this shower and it is quite possible that rates can vary.
The expected Zenith Hourly Rate is around 65 meteors per hour, but realistically this may be much lower, this shower has shown good rates in the past.
Best observing time is from around 3:30am.
The meteors will appear to “radiate” away from the star Eta Aquarii, meteors closer to the radiant will appear much shorter and ones further away will leave longer streaks, of which you can trace the origin back to the radiant.
Any meteor NOT tracing back to the radiant is classified as “sporadic” or could be a member of another shower which might be showing activity.
Some meteors near the radiant will show as a rapid pinpoint flash of light indicating a “head-on” meteor, don’t worry they won’t hit you!
Look for fast (65km/sec) white/yellowish coloured meteors which leave a 2 to 3 second “train” (sometimes longer), ie: the streak left over after the meteor “burns” out.
There will be some early morning International Space Station passes in the NE on the morning of the peak (6th May) at around 4:21am but will keep low (17 degrees) above the horizon!
Thanks to my pal – Chris Wyatt for the reminder and chart!