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Eta Aquariids
A Family Night Out Under The Stars. Credit: @CakeyHayley

The Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower is active from April 19th to May 28th. The peak of the shower is on the evenings of May 4th and 5th. There is activity a few days ether side of peak in 2020.

The Eta Aquariids are an annual meteor shower best seen in the southern hemisphere. This is due to the location of the showers radiant near the water jar in the constellation of Aquarius. The radiant doesn’t appear above the horizon in the Uk until just before dawn this time of year.

Eta Aquariids meteors can still put on a good show for those in the northern hemisphere, such as the UK. They can be very swift and leave persistent trains. There are very few fireballs. This may be down to the material burning up in the atmosphere may be harder than that of meteors in other showers.

Watching Eta Aquariids

The shower can produce 10 – 30 meteors per hour for UK observers with up to 60 in southern latitudes. However the 91% Full Moon will drown out many of the meteors and make spotting the rest a challenge.

As with other meteor showers, you don’t have to look in any particular direction to look for the Eta Aquariids. Just look up and fill your gaze with sky for as long as possible. Meteors will appear randomly in any part of the sky.

You may not see any for a while and then two or three appear within moments of each other. Meteor spotting is unpredictable, but is something the whole family can do and adds a bit of fun during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Even if you don’t see any meteors, a night under the stars with your family, is a memorable and fun experience.

All you need to do to watch Eta Aquariids is go outside late evening through to dawn, get comfortable, and keep warm. A reclining chair and a sleeping bag is my choice, but some even lay on a trampoline in the garden if they have one.

Check out the Guide to Watching Meteor Showers and follow @VirtualAstro on twitter and facebook

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