Big shooting star show set to light up our self-iso lives

Rodiano Bonacci
Mag 4, 2020

Viewing was best for those in the Northern Hemisphere.

To help locate them, we recommend downloading the Sky Map app - it's the easiest way to navigate the night sky (and is a lot of fun to use even on a non-meteor shower night).

"When that wake of debris intersects with the orbit of the Earth we experience meteor showers, as the particles fall towards the Earth and heat up upon entering the atmosphere, leaving bright streaks in the sky as they vaporise or break apart". "The Moon will have set as the shower starts to peak, which means the sky will be nice and dark and it will allow everyone to see the fainter meteors". But the meteors will be raining down most of the week, so you may have more luck catching a glimpse during the slightly darker mornings on either side of the peak.

All year long, as Earth revolves around the sun, it passes through streams of cosmic debris - trails of rocks and ice left behind by comets. But we pass through the thickest debris on the morning of May 6. The Orionids meteor shower in October also originates from this comet.

In addition to the almost-full moon lighting up the sky, there are now three bright planets to contend with.

In the mid-May (May 12-13), the Earth will also have a close shave as the newly discovered comet SWAN will be at a distance of 83.3 million kilometers from our planet and is expected to outshine most of the stars in the sky and is likely to be visible to the naked eye in the last week of the month. So, that's what you'll be looking for in the sky.

This year, at that time, you'll be in the running to see as many as 50 meteors every 60 minutes.

Ms de Sales Marques said: "As with any other stargazing activity, the best way to see meteors is to find yourself a spot sheltered from city lights with an unobstructed view of the sky and look in the direction of the radiant". The shower's name comes from the star from which they appear to come Eta Aquarii, which is part of the Aquarius constellation.

Viewing in the Southern Hemisphere is preferable but not necessary.

For the best chance at seeing the shower, go outside around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. and gaze somewhat away from the radiant in the constellation Aquarius, says.

Origin of Eta Aquariids as seen from Sydney at 4 am on May 6.

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