Eta Aquariid meteor shower set to light up night sky

Proudly supported by

  Last updated May 7, 2019 at 11:44 am


Over the next couple of days remnants from Halley’s Comet will provide a spectacular meteor shower.

eta aquarid eta aquariid meteor shower halleys comet

Halley’s Comet, last seen from Earth in 1986. Credit: NASA

Amateur astronomers across Australia will be treated to shooting stars over the next few days, as bits of rock and ice from Halley’s Comet burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Astronomer Brad Tucker from The Australian National University said the streaking-light shows from the Eta Aquariid meteor shower would happen around 4am local time on each morning.

“Eta Aquariids are one of the best meteor showers in the Southern Hemisphere this year,” says Tucker.

Australia in prime position

The further south your observing location the longer the viewing window, which means Australia will have some of the best viewing opportunities of the Eta Aquariid meteors.

“In a dark location all across Australia, you can expect 15 to 20 shooting stars per hour. If you are in a city, get away from nearby lights and into a darker area like a nearby oval to see as many shooting stars as possible,” says Tucker.

“The peak of the meteor shower will be tomorrow morning, but the next two mornings will also put on very good shows.”

According to Tucker, people should let their eyes adjust to the darkness for a few minutes before looking east, where the sky would put on a show for them.

The pieces of comet move particularly fast, which produces long tails across the sky but less chance of fireballs.

eta aquariid meteor shower

Eta Aquariid meteors appear to originate from the constellation of Aquarius. Credit: American Meteor Society


Massive meteorite craters found in Western Australia and Central America

Space pic of the week: the story of a gigantic Aussie crater

Diamonds in meteorite are the last remnants of early Solar System proto-planet

About the Author

ANU Newsroom
The latest and best news from the Australian National University

Published By

Featured Videos

Space technology predicts droughts several months in advance
ANU Science On Location: Booderee National Park
ANU Science On Location: Ningaloo Reef
A mix of science and sourdough
How does the crested pigeon make their mysterious alarm sound?
Why do magpies swoop?
Critically endangered swift parrot needs your help!
ANU Science On Location: Siding Spring Observatory
ANU Science On Location: Mountain Ash forests
ANU Science On Location: Warramunga Station
Secret life may thrive in warm caves under Antarctica’s glaciers
Scientists help solve mystery of what causes exploding stars
Case Closed: Mystery of How First Animals Appeared on Earth Has Been Solved
Palm cockatoos beat drum like Ringo Starr
Butterfly wings inspire new solar technologies
From window to mirror, on demand
The search for exploding stars
Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef
Join The Search For Planet 9