Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower


Eta  Aquarids (ETA)

Active:  April 19 – May 28; Maximum:  May 6, 02hrs UT;  ZHR = 50 ( Periodically variable , ~ 40-85); V∞ = 66 km/s

Observing on the morning of the 6th or 7th in Ballarat from 04:00 AEST, these times are either side of the maximum at 12.00 AEST on the 6th.

This stream is associated with Comet 1P/Halley, like the Orionids in October.  Shower meteors are only visible for a few hours before dawn from tropical and southern hemisphere sites. This shower is one of the best for southern observers and would benefit from increased observer activity generally.  The fast and often bright meteors make the wait for the radiant- rise worthwhile, and many events leave persistent trains. While the radiant is low, the meteors tend to have very long paths, which can mean observers underestimate the angular speeds of the meteors, so extra care is needed when making such reports.

The peak rates appear to be variable on a roughly 12-year timescale. Assuming this Jupiter-influenced cycle is real, the trough period was due around 2014-2016, so ZHR’s may slightly exceed the previous years’ rates now. The waxing gibbous moon will set leaving the morning hours towards dawn splendidly Moon-free for the peak.

If you would like to become a contributor, you can find out more information here on how to make observations and to report them.

A bonus in the southern hemisphere is that the centre of our Galaxy, the Milky Way is overhead. This area is also known as the Emu, in some areas of Victoria, named by local aboriginal peoples for the familiar shape of the Emu formed by the dust lanes of the Milky Way.



Credit: IMO