Eta Aquariid meteor shower set to peak tonight sky

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)

You will see a spectacular celestial show in the sky as the Eta Aquariid meteor shower will peak on the night of May 5 into the morning of May 6 in 2024.

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is caused by the debris of ice and dust left behind by the most famous comet Halley.

Our Earth passes through this debris every year in early May as it orbits the sun. When this debris enters the earth’s atmosphere at a breath-taking speed of 65.7 km/s (236,520 km/h), – they burn up and produce streaks of light across the sky, called the Eta Aquariid meteors or the Eta Aquariid shooting stars. 

The shower has a broad peak so you will see plenty of meteors on the nights of May 4-5, May 5-6, and May 6-7.

The best time to see the Eta Aquariid meteor shower is from 4 a.m. local time until dawn breaks.

You can’t see a meteor shower from a city due to light pollution, so find a dark place away from city lights or street lights. For the best experience of a meteor shower, go to a rural area.

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

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. So look low in the eastern sky before dawn to see the shower.

The meteor showers are like fishing, so you have to be patient. As the night progresses, you will see more Eta Aquariid meteors, which will reach their maximum value just before dawn.

Although the Eta Aquariid meteor shower favors observers located in the southern hemisphere, but it will be visible around the world. So you don’t need to be worried.

This year, moonlight will not interfere with the Eta Aquariids, as the thin, waning crescent moon will rise at dawn and you can expect up to one meteor per minute.

Meteors from this shower are often very long and produce persistent trains – a glowing train left behind by a bright meteor that lasts several seconds.

Main article: All you need to know about the Eta Aquariid meteor shower 2024 

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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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