Meteor showers and super full Moon for a double astronomical treat

Rodiano Bonacci
Ноября 25, 2020

The bad news is that meteors are easiest to spot in a dark night sky and the moon will be getting brighter as it approaches full. During its peak, under optimal viewing conditions, up to 60 meteors per hour should be visible.

But Northern Hemisphere viewers will have a chance to see the shower between 3 a.m. and dawn, International Meteor Organization Secretary General Robert Lunsford tells NPR.

"At the peak, I've seen estimates of 30 [to] 60 shooting stars an hour, although a lot of those are likely to be fainter and so hard to see with the moonlight", she said.

Because the constellation hangs so low during the meteor shower's visible peak, Eta Aquariids are sometimes known as "earthgrazers".

In the Northern Hemisphere, the radiant is much lower on the horizon, resulting in a lower number of shooting stars - about 10 meteors an hour.

Bits from the Eta Aquariids streak through the sky at around 148,000 miles for each hour, making it one of the quickest meteor showers.

Although the shower can be seen from all over the world, according to Earth Sky, "the Eta Aquariids are especially fine from Earth's Southern Hemisphere, and from the more southerly latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere".

As this meteor shower is active till May 28, people can still watch this celestial spectacle in early morning every day, Planetary Society of India (PSI) Director N Sri Raghunandan Kumar interacting with UNI said. NASA explained: "Going by the seasons, as the second full Moon of spring, the Native American tribes of the northeastern United States called this the Flower Moon, as flowers are abundant this time of year in most of these areas". But the shower is most intense this week, peaking on the mornings of May 5 and May 6.

Mr Rigby says the Eta Aquarid meteor shower is the closest starwatchers will get to Halley's Comet for another 41 years. In Wellington, the overnight forecast is mainly cloudy with rain, the same went for Auckland and Christchurch. But you can still use them to get a better look at Mars.

If you just happen to be stuck and can't seem to get out to see the display, don't worry because it has a broad peek so you will still be able to see some meteors on the surrounding nights. It's named for its radiant, or direction of origin, which appears to come from the constellation Aquarius.

That's right, no binoculars or telescope required. And because you would be looking at the moon through the densest part of Earth's will appear to be a deep orange color (when rising or setting) and an entrancing pale yellow color (when just above the horizon).

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