The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will be reaching its peak this weekend, during the very early morning hours of Sunday, May 5, 2013. The meteor shower will put on a beautiful show for those watching for a few days before and after though, so get out when you can. While the Eta Aquariids are one of the few meteor showers to put on a better show in the Southern Hemisphere than in the Northern Hemisphere, the shower will be good a show when seen from almost anywhere in the world. Peak rates this year are expected to be around 40-85 meteors an hour, when seen from a dark rural location.
Worth noting is that this year’s meteor shower is coinciding with the New Moon, so the sky will be nice and dark (so long as you get away from city lights), the perfect environment for watching meteors.
The best time for meteor watching will be sometime in the very early morning hours of Sunday, May 5th, roughly 4-5 hours before dawn is what you’re aiming for. The meteors will appear to be originating from the southeastern portion of the sky, specifically from the constellation of Aquarius, and its brightest star — Eta Aquarii. For those interested, there are number of other good meteor showers expected this year, some even better than the Eta Aquarids. See: Meteor Showers 2013 Dates and Times, Geminids, Leonids, Perseids, Orionids, Draconids, Taurids, Ursids, Etc
Below is a list of some basic meteor shower watching tips. They go a long way towards making the experience enjoyable.
1. Get as far away from the city as you can. You want the darkest sky that you can get.
2. You need to give your eyes some time to fully adjust to the dark, sometimes as much as a half hour. This means no electronics, or at the very least, dim the screens to the lowest possible brightness.
3. Get comfortable. Warm clothes, blankets, hot coffee, hot chocolate, etc, are all a good idea.
Enjoy the show. 🙂