How and When To Watch The Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower In The UK This May

5th May 2023
How and When To Watch The Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower In The UK This May

A beautiful spectacle of the Eta Aquariids meteor shower is usually active between the 19th of April and the 28th of May every year. In 2024, the Eta Aquariids will reach its peak on 5th-6th May.

What Is The Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower?

The meteor shower is, in some ways, an offshoot of Halley’s Comet. The shower separated from the comet centuries ago and though Halley’s Comet itself doesn’t come close enough for us to see its meteors, the Eta Aquariids are visible every year.

It is actually one of two meteor showers that were created by the debris from Halley’s Comet. You’ll have to wait half a year to see the Orionid meteor shower, though, which rolls around in October.

Why Eta Aquariids?

The name of this meteor shower comes from the Aquarius constellation, which is where the shower appears to radiate from. It could be visible between midnight all the way through to when the sun comes up, but the peak is likely to be at around 4.30 to 5 in the morning. One to set your alarms for.

aquarius constellation map
Credit: unistellar

When To Watch The Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower?

The show peaks on 5 and 6 of May 2024, giving night owls and early risers a chance to see the shower in the hours before dawn. The American Meteor Society is listing 8:43 UTC on 5 May as the shower’s predicted peak time. If it’s clear on 6 May, watch for Eta Aquariid meteors from 02:00 BST (01:00 UT) until the onset of dawn.

However, you have a chance to witness the Eta Aquariids meteor shower for more than a month – starting from 15 April to 27 May. Whether you are going to watch the meteor shower in the United Kingdom, the USA, or Canada you might see 10 to 20 meteors per hour under a dark sky.

Where Do You Get The Best Chance To See The Eta Aquariids?

This shower isn’t quite as spectacular as some others, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. You may see around 10 meteors per hour, but this number is much higher in parts of the Southern Hemisphere. Still, every meteor shower is a significant event and well worth viewing if you can. 

If you plan to watch the shower, find a place with minimal light pollution. As always, give your eyes a while to adjust to the light, which means turning off torches and mobile phones, too.

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