Saturday 26 April 2014

The Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower.

The Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower will be at a peak on Monday 5/Tuesday 6 May 2014, with up to 45 meteors per hour at it's peak, radiating from the constellation of Aquarius. This does not spend long above the horizon in the northern hemisphere at this time of year, but potentially could produce good shows before dawn on the 4-6 May, particularly after the Moon has set, with longer displays in the southern hemisphere. The Eta Aquarids are potentially visible between 19 April and 28 May, but are extremely hard to spot away from the peak of activity.

The radiant point for the Eta Aquarid meteors. Universe Today.

The meteor shower is caused by the Earth passing through the trail of Halley's Comet, where it encounters thousands of tiny dust particles shed from the comet as its icy surface is melted (strictly sublimated) by the heat of the Sun. Halley's Comet only visits the inner Solar System every 75 years (most recently in 1986 and next in 2061), but the trail of particles shed by it forms a constant flow, which the Earth crosses twice each year; in May when it causes the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower and in October when it causes the Orionid Meteor Shower.

Orbit diagram for Halley's Comet. JPL Small Body Database Browser.

See also...

 The Ursid Meteors.

 The Oroinid Meteors.

 The Perseid Meteors.

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