Eta Aquariid meteor shower lights up sky

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

This article was first published on Australia’s Science Channel, the original news platform of The Royal Institution of Australia.

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