Eta Aquariid meteor shower 2025: All you need to know

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower will start on April 19 and end on May 28 in 2025. The predicted peak of Eta Aquariids will fall on May 6, 2025 at 20:19 UTC.

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is seen every year in early May, when our Earth passes through the debris of ice and dust left behind by the comet Halley in its orbit, according to NASA. So every Eta Aquariid meteor is the fragment of comet Halley.

It is the most active meteor shower in the Southern Hemisphere. Meteors from this shower are often very long, several tens of degrees, and are the so-called Earthgrazers, meaning they appear to skim the surface of the Earth at the horizon as the meteors hit the Earth’s atmosphere at a very shallow angle.

The shower usually produces up to 83 meteors per hour during peak activity under clear, dark skies.

2025 will be a good year to see Eta Aquariids, as the waxing gibbous moon will set just after midnight. The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is best visible just before dawn, so you will get a moonless sky during the peak activity.

Petr Horalek captured the Eta Aquariid meteor shower in early May 2023
Petr Horalek captured the Eta Aquariid meteor shower in early May 2023. (Image credit:  Petr Horalek / Institute of Physics in Opava)

Duration of peak activity

Unlike the Quadrantids in January or the Lyrids in April, there is no sharp peak of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower.

The peak activity of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower can last up to about 36 hours, centered on the predicted peak, making it easier to observe.

When to see the Eta Aquariid meteor shower in 2025

Pre-dawn hours (at around 4 to 5 a.m. local time) of May 6 and 7 is the best time to see the Eta Aquariid meteor shower in 2025.

The point from where the Eta Aquariid meteor shower radiates in the sky, called the shower’s radiant, rises in the wee hours (the first few hours after midnight) and reaches its highest point in the sky at dawn.

The radiant of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower climbs a decent height above the horizon at around 3 a.m. local time, so I will suggest you start watching Eta Aquariids (Eta Aquariid meteors) from pre-dawn hours (at around 3 a.m. local time) and continue it till dawn breaks.

You won’t see the Eta Aquariid meteor shower until midnight as the shower’s radiant is located below the horizon.

Where to look to see the Eta Aquariid meteor shower

Radiant position of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower
Radiant position of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower. (Image credit: Stellarium)

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower radiates from the zodiac constellation Aquarius, the water bearer. Look low in the eastern sky in the pre-dawn hours to spot Aquarius.

Unfortunately, there is no noticeably bright star in the zodiac constellation Aquarius. But you don’t need to be worried.

A prominent star pattern of nearby Pegasus constellation, called the Great Square of Pegasus, will help you to spot the radiant of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower.

Four bright stars – Markab, Scheat, Algenib, and Alpheratz form a gigantic square that is easily noticeable at dawn during peak activity. 

However, I will suggest you don’t look at the constellation Aquarius only to see the Eta Aquariid meteor shower, as the meteors closer to the radiant have shorter trails and are difficult to observe. So move your gaze across the entire eastern sky.

Visibility of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower

Colin Legg captured the Eta Aquariid meteor shower in 2013 from the Pilbara desert in Australia
Colin Legg captured the Eta Aquariid meteor shower in 2013 from the Pilbara desert in Australia. He wrote, ‘Composite of approximately 50 images containing 26 meteors, meteor train, 17 % moon, zodiacal light and Pilbara desert. (Image credit: Colin Legg/AMS)

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is most favorable to observers in the Southern Hemisphere, especially those located in the low-southern latitudes (from 0° to 25°S).

Observers located in the low-southern latitudes will witness an excellent display of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower, where the radiant reaches more than 50° altitude in the pre-dawn skies.

Observers located in the low-northern latitudes will see a moderate display of this shower. However, the observers located in the mid- and high-northern latitudes will struggle to observe Eta Aquariids, where the radiant never rises much above the horizon.

From the mid- and high-northern latitudes, you will be able to see only Earth-grazer Eta Aquariid meteors just before dawn. So a clear view of the eastern horizon is required.

How the Eta Aquariid meteor shower got its name

Meteor showers are usually named after a constellation in which the radiant lies during peak activity or after a bright star closest to the radiant.

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower got its name after the bright star eta Aquarii in the constellation Aquarius, as the radiant of the shower is located very close to eta Aquarii during peak activity.

How to observe the Eta Aquariid meteor shower

You don’t need any special equipment, such as a pair of binoculars or a telescope, to see the Eta Aquariid meteor shower. A meteor shower is best seen with the naked eye.

Find a safe, dark place away from city lights where a large portion of the sky is seen. Lie down or sit on a lawn chair and look straight up at the sky, facing roughly east.

It will take around 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, and don’t look at your cell phone as the bright light from its screen will interrupt your night vision.

Be patient, as the celestial show of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower will be visible until dawn breaks.

As the night progresses you will see more meteors and will reach its maximum value just before dawn.

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About the Author

Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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